The Dance of the Red Pen


The battle of left brain and right brain.

It is common knowledge that right brain is the creative side and the left is more analytical. Most believe the left side to be what is used while editing. But the right side has to be active as well. Allow both sides to flow together. If you lean too far to either side, it can skew the editing you need to be doing. Too far left and the creativity wanes, and too far to the right and you flood your work with rainbows and unicorn farts.

Tell me that didn’t make you chuckle. I dare you.

I just made myself giggle a little. Just a little, well, maybe more than a little. Come on! I just typed ‘unicorn farts.’ That’s funny right there. LOL No? Fine. Being an adult is no fun. Argh.

Blah, blah, blah, cuppa, blah, blah, blah, nibble…get out the reading rug and your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. Better? I didn’t think so. Boring. See? Being an adult, all the time, is boring. I refuse to fall in line. **Sticks out tongue. **

Let’s move beyond my little snit and learn about–

Story Editing

Here are a few of the questions Mr. Mayer believes you should ask yourself when settling down into the editing of your story.

**Please note, I will NOT be giving you all the questions. That would delete the need for you to BUY A COPY OF THE BOOK. Let’s support the creators of these amazing works. **

  • Is there continuity?
  • Does the story flow logically?
  • Do *these words have a purpose? (*Which ever words you are looking to edit.)
  • Do they relate to the story?
  • Should I tell this now, or wait until later in the story for dramatic effect?
  • …and so on.
Does it flow?

If you are an avid reader, then you will understand the way a good story can and will flow. By the time you have done the edits on your work you will have read every word at least a dozen times. How does it feel? Does the pacing work? If you are at the point where you can no longer tell, then set it aside for a couple of weeks (2 works for me). Come in with fresh eyes, or hand it off to someone you trust completely and have them tear it apart. No really. Have them rip it to shreds, metaphorically (just give them a good red pen), and hand you back the pieces.

This is the time to build a thick, THICK skin. You must learn how to take criticism. Let your beta readers lob stones at your work, and you in turn, need to take those stones and build an empire. Look, if you trust these people enough to read your words and give you critiques, you need to trust they are being honest.

** Make sure you pick people who actually read. **

We have edited, now what?


Blah. Rewriting. *Sigh* It has to be done. Not just for the spots you simply threw some words down so you could get to the next scene, but because your beta readers have tagged problems. Maybe your professional editor or publisher told you it had to be done. Either way, rewriting is a thing and get use to it. It is an ongoing process. For example: I write a chapter/scene and then exit for the day. The next day, I read what I wrote, rework thoughts, ideas, and flow. You know, rewrite. Once I have done that I can move on to the next scene. Rewriting is ongoing.

**If you make a plot change in a rewrite then you need to go back through and change everything that happens from that one alteration to the storyline. **

Be honest with yourself. How would you respond if this was someone else’s novel? Would you be entertained? Annoyed? Meh? You knew something was off the moment you wrote it. Go to that (those) spot(s) and fix it/them.

Print it off. Get some post-it arrows and sticky notes and get to work. Grab a handful of different color pens and create a chart of what they mean. Purple-punctuation, Green-word change, Red- reword sentence…The best way to start is to…

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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Published by Ticia Rani

I am...interesting. I am a writer, dreamer, mom, wife, veteran, friend, villain, and the wearer of many hats, but I don't look good in hats- go figure. I LOVE TO WRITE. I want to tell stories. I want to make you laugh, cry, and scare the crap out of you, and make you ask "why the hell did you do that?" I want to make you cheer my characters on or want to shake the crap out of them for things they say and/or do. I want to bring you along for the ride. Ready? Set?...READ!!!

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