NaNoWriMo is over and I’ve completed my rewrite of On a Wing and a Dare. Whew! How about you? I know that 62 kids, two teachers, and a parent at my school successfully completed a novel in November. They are all proud of what they’ve accomplished, but are learning about December–NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).
It’s very difficult to go back to a piece you’ve worked on for a month to revise and edit it. First of all, you are probably sick of the characters and tired of their problems. One way to renew your interest in your work is to let someone else read it. Have them comment on plot believability and clarity of story line. Then you can go through and AID your writing.
AID your writing is a device I teach my students when planning a narrative. As you plan each scene in the story, whether you are using a Quick Sketch, a roller coaster, or some other organizer, it is easy to envision action. Action alone does not make a story, and it can be poorly presented. When planning, and later revising, your story keep in mind the three main pieces of each scene: action, internal thinking, and dialogue.
ACTION, as I’ve said, is the easiest part. It’s what we see when we play the scene in our heads. Make sure, though, that you have described the details. What’s the setting? Who’s there? What are they wearing? eating? doing? All the background noises and actions help set the main action into a place in the world.
INTERNAL THINKING shows us how the character changes. If you just play out the action without telling us what your character is thinking and feeling, you don’t engage your reader. The reader is an observer, like watching a play, instead of being drawn into the action. Establish how your character thinks and feels at the beginning and show it through the characters’ words, actions, and mannerisms. By the end, the character will have changed and so will those words, actions, and mannerisms.
DIALOGUE can add life to a story if done well. I have other posts on dialogue that you can search if this is what you want to learn about. Remember that dialogue must further the story. It must give information or motivation that the narrative does not. Dialogue also must be interspersed with narrative so that the reader can still see the characters and what they are doing. No one stands and talks in a vacuum, their arms at their sides. Show me what is going on.
If you’ve AIDed your writing when planning, revision is easier. You can revise the action, internal thinking, and dialogue instead of racking your brain trying to come up with a way to communicate your ideas. Here are some revising tips:
* Add sensory details so the reader can experience the action
* Use mannerisms, words, and actions to show readers what the character is thinking
* Add narrative tags to your dialogue so the reader can see the dialogue as well as hear it.
On my Kindle: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, one of my favorite authors