Self Editing and Formatting: Writing Patterns

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Alright guys we’re back on track! Today’s self editing and formatting post focuses on writing patterns. We all have ways that we naturally express ourselves. In writing, this expression may become repetitive, here’s what to look out for:

  • Don’t be too repetitive of character traits (ie: In a book I’ve decided not to continue reading, the MC has grey eyes which look this way and that–all the time. The description was completely unrelated to the scene and was often distracting during the action-y parts.)
    • Use character description when necessary, but don’t let it become the focus of your writing. Readers have an imagination–let them use it.
  • Vary sentence structure. Have long sentences and short ones. Use descriptions when necessary, but don’t be afraid to leave sentences concise.
  • Use the thesaurus.
    • We’ve all been told to use words that come naturally to us, but when we’re writing an 80,000+ word novel, we’ll need to branch out and find new and creative ways to describe what’s happening.
      • ie: You character doesn’t have to walk down the sidewalk 12 times during the first chapter. What’s her/his mood? Is she grouchy? She could stomp, or drag her feet. Is he excited? He could skip (I wouldn’t), or lob.
  • And for those of us lucky enough to write often and well, don’t tell the same story over and over again. Branch out. Find new characters and new circumstances–your never know, you may discover that you like other genres.
  • Make sure every word is necessary. With today’s fast-paced world, no body wants to read 300 words describing fog as it rolls across the bow of a ship. Say what you need to say, then get moving. Readers crave action these days–not necessarily blowing things up kind-of action–but in other words, don’t stagnate the plot.

And that’s it folks! I hope everyone has a great Easter! Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together!

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