Self-editing and Critiquing #5

I’m in the throws of intense editing, also known as rewriting half a novel. I have found techniques which help make the process smoother, perhaps they can help you as well.

First I choose one scene to work on at a time, trying to look at the others as little as possible until the rewrite is complete.

Second I ask myself what I want to do with this scene. Who I want to introduce, what character development I want to see, and most importantly if I want it to end in an upbeat or a downbeat. 

What is that? When a scene ends with progress toward the characters goal then the scene ends with an upbeat. If a new obstacle appears between the character and their goals the scene ends in a downbeat. If there are too many scenes with one or the other in a row then it’s off putting to the reader which could make them put the book down. 

This brings us to our third point, I have to make sure that the characters current goals are clear to the reader. This can be simple, “His tummy rumbled, ready to devour the next edible object in sight.” Your character realizes he needs to eat, then his goal is to obtain food. These goals can also be complex such as a daughters need of acceptance from her parents. Clear goals are the way to help the reader root for your main character through their trials and tribulations. 

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