~~NEVER ENDING EDITS
It all starts with an idea. The idea will usually involve people, animals, settings, conflicts, danger, drama, comedy, resolution and eventually, conclusion. There are often interesting combinations of some or all of the things I listed(hopefully) woven together in some sort of order. I forgot to mention the occasional romance.
The next thing you know, you have a story.
Once the story is told in the written word, the editing begins. Sentence structure, spelling, grammar and punctuation are all examined and corrected. Then they are examined and corrected again. All this happens before the beta readers see the story.
Beta readers are the folks who are willing to take the time to read the story and comment on it.
Be prepared to make more changes.
Whole sentences and paragraphs will have to be re-written. Others will get the axe. People will ask both relevant and useless questions. Some will make suggestions. "Why did you name her Clarisse? Couldn't her name be Daphne?" "Maybe she shouldn't be a woman, it would be more interesting if she were a mystical, mind reading horse".
A writer must give all of this input some careful consideration. People will point out the excessive use of adverbs. How many times do you use the word "that" ? Too many? That is so very, very, sad. What will you do about that?
There are more rules.
Never use the word "very", when extremely, extraordinarily, amazingly, or inordinately could be used instead. Wait, did I mention you should never use adverbs.? Well, maybe on occasion, but never, ever use adverbs that end in "ly". It's not what I was taught in school, but it's the norm in fiction writing today.
Are you familiar with the rule about showing rather than telling?
Don't say "She was emotionally disturbed". (See there's one of those "ly" words.) Instead, SHOW how she was emotionally disturbed.
"Sally was unable to express her feelings in ways most people would consider normal. Sally cried, screamed or snarled. One moment she would be cheery and upbeat, the next she'd call you names and sneer at your (supposed) inadequacies".
In that sentence I used the word "was". It should've been written: "Unable to express her feelings in ways most people would consider normal, Sally cried, screamed or snarled."
That's right, "was" is another word you should seldom use. Good grief, Iwas just about to use it again. Evidently, I'm not supposed to.
Once again, sentence structure, spelling, grammar and punctuation are all examined and corrected. Then, they are examined and corrected again. All this happens before the story is submitted to an agent.
Wait till we get to the part about finding an agent!
Another important aspect is formatting. Formatting is about ease of reading and the appearance of the final product. . Note the difference between the way the following looks in comparison to the original above.
Be prepared to make more changes. Once you get the input from beta readers, whole sentences and paragraphs will have to be re-written.
Others will get the axe.
As you can see, there is more to writing than merely telling the story.
But what about the process of developing a story, from the first ideas into the finished manuscript? Where does the inspiration come from?
(to be continued)