Exciting Editing - Changing Your Mindset
Editing your novel can be exciting if you think about it as taking the journey with your characters a second time.
Changing your mindset when you approach editing can make it fun, instead of tedious.
While you add, remove, and move things, you are creating a somewhat different journey for your characters, and that leads to not just a sharper story, but a more enjoyable read for you and your audience.
Adding and removing subplots
This is where you have the opportunity to make your story more interesting. You can increase the amount of messages to your readers or hone the main one by removing nonessential subplots.
Subplots are great for adding depth and multiple messages to your readers. You get to write new side adventures and possibly new characters! These additions alter the journey, and you get to enjoy a different story.
Removing subplots is harder. I’ll admit, I hate suggesting this to any author, but sometimes it’s necessary. Your subplots should support the main plot. They should tie into it in some way. If they stray too far from it, you and your reader might feel the story is meandering rather than moving forward.
Backstory and setting descriptions
Decreasing large chunks of backstory and setting description increases reader engagement. While you don’t want to confuse your reader by not having enough, you also want to leave them with some questions, so they keep reading.
Think of this way. Would you rather be in a downpour or in a light sprinkle? You seek shelter from a downpour but can walk just fine in a sprinkle. The reader may be temped to seek shelter by skipping long descriptions. You want them to keep walking, right?
After your amazing hook, providing only one to three sentences of setting or backstory, before an action works best for most novels. (There isn’t a rule about this, sometimes it’s genre specific.)
Having other characters reveal the main character’s backstory through dialogue is an option. As is other characters telling the main character their backstory. Just mix it up with some action.
Think about it this way. Would you want to sit around a campfire with new friends and share entire life stories, or would you rather be roaming the forest and talking with your friends while you gather wood or hunt for food? Which is more exciting?
Most of the time, you will change dialogue to feel more realistic. Removing dialogue tags and replacing them with action beats creates variety and realism.
Think about it this way. How many people do you know who don’t move when they talk?
Many people talk with their hands, or shift around, lean forward when listening or making a larger point. They lean back when done talking. Rub their face when they are frustrated.
When revising, you can also make action beats character specific so even less dialogue tags are necessary, because only one character bites their lip, showing indecisiveness, hesitation, or timidness or another cracks their knuckles, which shows they are a take action kind of character or a fighter. (Cracking knuckles could also be a nervous habit.)
Getting it all out on the page is great, editing can be exciting too. Change your mindset by choosing to see it as an opportunity to improve your story.
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