December 8, 2009

Revising a Rough Draft (Really Rough) Part 2

What's a common word that does little to enhance your story?


So, Get Rid of It and replace it with something useful. Remember, every word in your book needs to pull double or even triple duty if you can manage it.

For example, an easy way to do this is through dialogue. With good dialogue, you can 1) further the plot, 2) increase tension, and 3) show character. Here's an excerpt from a draft of Shadow Bound (you may have seen this before):

"Rachel?" Lisa raised an eyebrow. "What are you staring at?" She turned, dragging one leg over so she straddled the bench. "Ooh, he’s cute."

I braved another look. He was attractive, but his stare made me uncomfortable.

"Too bad he’s taken," she added, twisting back around.

"What do you mean?"

She snorted and gave a sarcastic half-smile. "Well, I don’t think that’s his sister."

I peeked at him again. There was no one with him. On the next bench though, a couple was making out. "No, not him."

Lisa scanned the park again, this time pointing to a man walking his dog. "That old guy?" Her eyes narrowed. "Rachel, are you okay?"

Here, we have dialogue. It pushes the plot forward by showing that Lisa isn't able to see what Rachel sees. (Trust me. It does.) This snippet is needed in order to move the story in the right direction. But what else does it do?

We see that Lisa is curious (nosy), and we here her voice. We see her wry sense of humor. There's also conflict here for Rachel. She has to decide to either explain what she sees, lie, or come up with a way to change the subject. We also get a little bit of setting (which I hadn't intended, but hey, I'll take it.)

See what I mean by double duty? Any time you can get two (or six) birds with one stone, do it. Look for opportunities like this. It makes for a page-turner.

Here's a link back to Revising a Rough Draf Part 1 and Part 3.

1 comment:

Terry Spear said...

Intriguing! Keep up the good work!

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