Making Words Betterer
Well, I’m knee deep into my second draft. After a lot of great feedback and insights, I’m going through the story line by line. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
I’m addicted to ellipses and it seems the more improper a use in the English language, the better. Apparently, those little dashes ( – ) and ditty dots ( … ) are not to be used in mid-sentence to create a pause. Heck, not only did I think that they were made for that purpose, I can’t seem to complete a dramatic statement without one! So, lesson learned. Sort of. I took three quarters of them out. The others – they just belonged. ; ) Thanks for the heads up, Jonathan.
Next up. Commas. Don’t use one incorrectly to continue a conversation. Here is an example of what I did through my entire story.
“Adam!” Hunter cried, “Focus! That’s not Sara!”
Ugh. Hunter cried PERIOD. Idiot! You know how many commas I had to hunt down and correct? Now that was a lesson I really did finally learn and a big thank you to Katie for calling me out on it. She must have gone through 5 red pens, poor girl.
Silly bad habits aside, the feedback was both positive and constructive. Mostly requests to expand a section, clarify a passage, provide additional detail earlier to help telegraph and inform later sections. However, plotting, pacing, characterization and structure, which I expected a ton of notes on, ended up receiving more accolades than criticism. There was certainly enough to keep me busy, don’t get me wrong. I even found things I wanted to rework a bit more that no one called out. But it felt good to have so many ask if this really was my first draft.
I can really feel it tightening up in the second draft. What’s funny is, as I’m going back through it and getting caught up in the story, I almost don’t recall writing parts of it. I’ll be struck by a line or a passage and think, “ooooh, that’s good,” as though someone else wrote it. Which is either a sign of complete narcissism or early onset Alzheimer’s. Too close to call. Probably both.
That’s it for now. Back to work!