The Writing Newbie

Writing is an adventure. Enjoy the journey and write the way you love!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Making Your Story Right

You know, rewriting is just no fun for most people.
Most of you already know that I don’t like it at all, and I imagine there are a lot of you out there who agree with me. For those like me, tough luck it has to be done. For those unlike us, you’re so lucky.

One of the reasons why it is very important to read you story again after you’re done writing it, is to check if everything is in order. Here are some important things you have to check while reading:

Number 1: Are all the characters there? Write down each character once he or she makes an appearance in your book. Then read on and check if they come back later in the story and if not, if a good reason is given for them not reappearing. For instance an elderly lady who is standing in line in a shop in front of the protagonist doesn’t have to reappear again. A school friend of your main character who comes by his house once should make an appearance again some way or another. Otherwise it will seem like you’ll have forgotten them.

Number 2: Have you done enough research? Seriously, jolt down every little thing that you claim to know and then check if you’re right. Of course you don’t have to check if a TV is called a TV. But sometimes people say something like the name of a car part or when they’re on a boat or something make sure you’ve got the terms right.

Number 3: Check your facts. Especially nature based. For instance if your story takes place in a certain part of the world and you say that it’s raining while it’s the middle of winter, make sure that it actually rains in that part of the world in that time of the year. Or if you say your character went hiking in the woods and found wild roses there, make sure they actually bloom in the part where the character is hiking. Or if it’s a made up place, make sure that you know in what conditions the plant can grow.

Number 4: Make a time line! In a story you tend to just go along while writing and don’t really think much about stuff like time. But later on you’ll have to check if all those number add up. For instance if girl A is twelve and girl B is 13 and they met when girl A was 9, they can’t be friends for 5 years. This seems logical but when you’re writing you tend to make mistakes like this. Especially if you tell their ages and everything first and then chapters later reveal that they’ve been friends for five years. Also make sure the time span of the story is right and if you remembered to change the weather with the seasons.

Number 5: Draw a map. It doesn’t have to be pretty or logical or mathematical on the correct scale, but just draw a map with the rough locations of the cities and places where your character leads the reader. This way you know if you have written it right. If the characters come from the west and city A is east and city B is south, then you can’t have your characters take the same path they took to city A back again to get to city B. (unless you have a good explanation for it, like if they go straight from city A to B they’ll go through troll territory and will probably get caught, boiled and eaten. So they take the long way. That kind of thing is fun to add. )

Number 6: Distance! Now that you have your map, estimate the distance between the places and check how long the characters would take to get there. Keep in mind if they’re going by foot, by car, horse, bike etc. And remember what kind of road they’re taking. Then see if the time is about right in your story. They can’t take a week about going to one city with the mountains visible on the horizon. And then take only two days to get to the city with the same mountains looming over it. Unless of course they were first walking on a troublesome path. And are now taking horses on a nice broad road.

Well I hope that was about it. Let me and the other readers know if you’re missing something here in the comments. I hope this helped you along a little bit in the troublesome work of editing you story. By the way number one happened to me. I have
someone proofreading my story and she told me I kept forgetting this fairy who is a side character in the story. I keep forgetting to write about her because I hadn’t originally planned for her to be in this story for so long. She should have gone back to the forest where she came from long ago. But due to circumstances she stayed... and I kept forgetting her.

And number two and three may seem like a lot of unnecessary work but trust me you don’t want someone to tell you that you were telling lies in your book and that you were just plain wrong. There will always be people reading your book who know about that stuff and if they find mistakes they will like your story less. It just won’t seem realistic enough.

I apologize for not posting anything sooner! I’ve been extremely busy lately. My exams are coming up so the next five weeks I’ll be stressing out and probably won’t have much time for my blog. But thank you everyone who reads this and I’ll try to post something at least once a week!

Everyone please comment and let me know what you think! I really love to read your comments. And any suggestions for future posts and any questions are very welcome!

Keep writing!

Xx LordKiwii

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