It sounds like I might be an expert in this subject, far from it. I have been spending time trying to learn from all the excellent support that is out there.
I’ll be the first to say that a story must come from the heart and no amount of magical formulas can manufacture one. However, the facts of structure to aid in your story telling can make a good story great.
Using the checklist that I received from Joan Dempsey in her online course on re-editing your MS. I see the value of making sure these eleven points are covered.
Point of View
For me, some of these points are obvious, and can be tackled by using spell and grammar check (to an extent). Some like POV took a little research, there are five possible voice’s from which to articulate a story and I recommend trying all of them.
I have the most trouble with description. I found in my first review of my MS. These images are in my mind, but don’t find their way into the story. I’m not totally convinced, yet, that this is a bad thing. My characters siting around a kitchen table, red Formica top with silver metal legs bolted together with silver screws. Should perhaps, in your view, be a homemade trestle table with a gingham tablecloth. Where does my vision end and the readers begin? I recently read a description of a black cornea, underneath a thick lash. I have to work this out.
When I’m in the middle of a series and the movie comes out, the characters I envisioned in my mind all change. I just thought I’s put that out there.
One of my strong points, I believe, is dialogue. It allows my voice to show through, which I have recently discovered.
My most recent story Wildest Dreams is reviewed and edited using this method to the best of my wavering ability. It’s going out for a professional edit, yes I’m taking the plunge. Then I’ll enter it in a short story contest, complete at 8000 words.
I must say that it felt good putting a critical eye on my story, seeing where I can improve it, checking for consistency and all the elements that can fall through the cracks in a first draft. Having something concrete to hold on to is a great help, something to work out for yourself in your own story.
The biggest area of rework was adding descriptions to some of the areas that seemed a little bare.
I have another story ready for a re-write, but that will be a huge undertaking. I may go through the process with my 21,000 word story to get more practice. Then I’ll send out ten queries, as was recommended by one of the agents I follow. The bottom line being you, and your success. I only recommend ten carefully constructed queries not form submissions with a Dear Agent greeting.
I’m excited for the professional edit. My purpose in entering contests is to get my stories read, but getting results or feedback has been non-existent. I believe it is a reasonable price to pay after learning how the industry works and my desire to get an opinion of my writing. I will definitely let you know, it’s all part of the process.
If you read my blog and are going through a similar experience, don’t lose heart. It’s the perseverance that will make the difference in the end. That is what I depend upon.