Thursday, 29 March 2012

Amazing Writing Advice #10: Editing

I know, I know, editing is for losers. 99% of the time you can bang out a 140,000 word manuscript in a couple of days and that manuscript will be good enough to be published. You should just spang it off to your editor of choice and phone up moments later demanding it gets published before Christmas. That's the only language these people understand.

But sometimes you'll pick up a subtle signal, maybe a couple of editors will have taken restraining orders out on you, this'll tell you something is up. You need to smooth a rough edge of your work. Because an editor will take any excuse to reject your work, that's how riddled with hate-for-talent they are.

So you sit down to review your work. But how?

Firstly you need to think of words as how they are. Editors and poshos will tell you words have funny names like verbs and nouns and adjectives...etc. This is just to confuse you. Words can be divided into three types:

  1. Thingy words - the names of things
  2. Doing words - words for something happening.
  3. Words of Power - all other words (called Words of Power as it sounds cool).
I have the Words of Power!
So with Thingy words you should try to come up with slightly better names. No one wants a hero called Mark. It's a rubbish name, call him Devron or Chase or Zac. These names are cool. If it's a scfi or fantasy book remember to add some random apostrophes and colons, maybe an @ sign as well if it's scifi. So for example D'evron: or C'h'a's'e or Z@c.

Real places just call them what they are, if you want extra tension add 'of doom' to the end. The library of doom, the park of doom. See, instant tension.

Doing words are the most important words, they should be replaced with much longer words that mean roughly the same thing. Also try to use some really archaic words, especially if it is a bit of a flowery book about feelings with lots of meaningful silences.

For the Words of Power add loads more, they have the power!

This will make your work indestructible when faced with the editor of doom.

Cheers,

Mark


P.S. If you attended the Amazing Writing Advice Residential you will shortly be hearing from my lawyers. Hopefully we can avoid any further unpleasantness.