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Revising and Editing Fiction Ali Luke Writers’ Huddle June Seminar, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Revising and Editing Fiction Ali Luke Writers’ Huddle June Seminar, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Revising and Editing Fiction Ali Luke Writers’ Huddle June Seminar, 2013

2 Revising vs Editing Revising – big picture, extensive changes Editing – up-close view, detailed changes “I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” ― Shannon Hale

3 Revision Characters Plot Setting

4 Revision: Characters Cut some completely – Pride and Prejudice film adaptation – J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Add backstory – Kay in Lycopolis Change aspects of characterisation – Especially if you get to know them while writing

5 Revision: Plot Remove false tangents – E.g. Too complicated, irrelevant Combine /delete repetitive scenes – Example later on... Fix plot holes – might be caused by other edits – Very handy to create a timeline

6 Revision: Setting Probably not making sweeping changes – So the basics (country, time period) stay the same “Re-set” individual scenes – E.g. Characters in public setting to argue Get the balance right – Telling details better than lots of detail

7 More Detailed Editing Style – Don’t let the words get in the way of the story. Voice – First person or third-person limited? Genre – Pacing, vocabulary

8 Look For... Things you can cut – First paragraph of scenes Repetitive phrasing – “Looked”... “stared”... “glanced”... Over-explaining – Trust the reader (use beta-readers)

9 Example: Lycopolis Original Chapter 1 scene B (third draft – couldn’t find the first draft!) Edwin’s weekday afternoons followed a comfortably predictable routine. He’d walk in the front door, throw his rucksack down, and pause long enough to grab a can of Coke Zero before disappearing upstairs to his room. Today, Thursday, had started with double-Latin and ended with double- Maths. He managed to slam his bedroom door before his mother got as far as the “was” of “Hello, love, how was school?” Edwin hit the computer’s “on” switch, kicked off his shoes, and emptied the small change from his trouser pockets (the chocolate machine in the third form common room didn’t take anything smaller than a 10p). He threw his blazer across his bed.

10 Example: Lycopolis Original Chapter 2 scene D (first draft) Edwin slammed the front door behind him, kicked his trainers off without unlacing them, and was half-way up the stairs by the time his mother called, "Edwin? How was--" He slammed his bedroom door, too, bolted it, threw his rucksack hard against the wall (there was an ominous 'crack'), and flung himself face-first onto his bed. Today had been the most utterly crap day at school ever. And it was only Monday; four more days until the reprive of the weekend. He pressed his forehead against the pillow. Maybe he could tell mum he felt sick. Skive off for the week. But she'd never believe him without a temperature - and she'd insist on staying home to look after him, which would mean he really would have to stay in bed rather than spend the day playing Lycopolis.

11 Example: Lycopolis Final – Chapter 3 Edwin slammed the front door, kicked his trainers at the wall, and was half- way up the stairs by the time Mum called, “How was school?” He didn’t know why she bothered asking. What did she expect: that he’d stroll home, announce that he loved school, that his teachers were the most intelligent and sympathetic people he knew, and that Darren Miller was his new best friend? He slammed his bedroom door so hard that a bit of paint flaked off the wall. “Edwin!” After bolting the door, he flung himself face-first onto the bed. It had been the worst Monday yet.

12 Example: Mutants of a Feather, Freedom Together (Allison) Pain. So much pain. Every part of me is screaming from release. I don’t even notice the tubes attached to me to help breathing and to let the scientists draw my blood. Every particle of my brain is focused on the feeling jolting through my very soul, cutting through me like a knife through butter. Each labored, shuddering breath is racked with pain, the slits in my neck attempt to respond with the water but end up causing more webs of knife-cutting torture. “She’s still not responding.” “Turn it up to full power.” Hearing this, I trembled. This was already bad enough. Why did they need to add more? “But sir-“ A hand wavered over the orange knob as he inspected me, shuddering in the tank. “DO IT.”

13 Next Steps Worksheet – Summary of seminar – Exercise to try – Links to further reading Forums – Discuss this seminar – Get work critiqued

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