Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Tidbits

So you're stuck, are you? - 10 Tricks to Seeing Your Manuscript Differently

1. Read it out loud. Does it sound natural? Does it sound consistent? Does it sound like you're trying too hard/not hard enough?
2. Make a synopsis of your story. Does it have a beginning building to a middle, building to a slam-bang end? If not, time to rethink.
3. List the most important events of the story. Now shuffle them into a new order. (i.e. What happens if the Prince discovers the identity of the Princess before the masked ball?) Better storytelling? Worse? Worth experimenting with?
4. If you're a typist, try writing a scene by hand. If you're a hand-writer, try typing a scene.
5. Take that most recent, tricky scene. Rewrite it from someone else's point of view. Rewrite it from multiple points of view at once. Rewrite it first-person or third-person. See anything new?
6. Role reversal: Write a scene with your antagonist as your hero and your hero as your antagonist. See anything new?
7. Print out your document and bind it like a book. Do the errors suddenly pop out at you? The slow passages? The repetitive passages?
8. Write an editorial letter to yourself. Let Editor You inform the Writer You of your strengths and your weaknesses, including suggestions for improvement.
9. Write about what happened before the story took place. Write about what happens after the story is over.
10. And, if you really are getting too close the manuscript and having a wretched time seeing it with fresh eyes . . . try reading it backwards, last scene first, etc. Anything jump out at you?


Faith King said...

Point #4 -- I always turn to writing longhand when I'm stuck. I think it works for me because there's a certain romantic ambiance to the scratch of pen on paper, which always tickles the part of me that likes stories. Also, since it takes longer to get your current thought down, your brain has more breathing room to be formulating the next thought.

Point #6-- A friend and I (not Laura, different friend) are working on a Jane Austen based derivative work right now and I've been starting to explore the Marianne Dashwood character journey. I came to the conclusion the other day that to be true to her character I need to make myself have a crush on Willoughby. This is a really bizarre experience because I've been hard wired since I was twelve years old to perceive Willoughby as bad news. I always defined him through Elinor's eyes. I'm really interested to see what new places this exercise is going to take my writing.

Great tips!

Kessie said...

Great tips! My favorite is reading it aloud, if possible, to a somewhat snarky audience who is listening for plotholes. I used to read my writing to my brothers who essentially MSTed it. But they pointed out bad metaphors, plotholes, and lapses in character voice. All very valuable things.

Clara said...

Thank you so much Anne Elisabeth!I have been stuck in a BIG way the past few weeks. I know what's going to happen. I know the entire plot. I know how everything is going to play out. I just can't seem to get this one, ittie bittie scene to work! But, I think with your advice, I can work it out now!

Molly said...

Wow, this should really work for me. I'm stuck on one story, which I am constantly trying to get back to, but I just can't seem to make it work out.
But as I read this, I thought, "this just might work."
Thanks so much!

Caiti Marie said...

Thank you for these tips! I'm a writer (amateur writer, anyway), and there's a novel I'm having particular trouble with. I think I'm going to try #5 and see what happens. #6 would be really interesting, especially since many of my readers care more about the villian than the not-so-heroic hero.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

You should all let me know if any of these tips work for you! I'm very curious.