Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Revising, part I

Though I was EXHAUSTED last night (I haven't been sleeping well, and I LOVE to sleep), I made myself take a look at my draft and identify the major problems. Being able to work while lying down is the best thing about a laptop, in my opinion.

Here's what I found:
  1. Descriptions need some fleshing out, especially descriptions of places and characters' looks.
  2. Dialogue needs major work, particularly in the more "heated" scenes. I can't get conflict to sound real (maybe that's because--or why?--I avoid it so fervently in my real life)
  3. The ending! Well, the story doesn't completely end yet. The basic is that through what Susan learns from Harold, she decides to give her marriage another shot. She basically learns that she is afraid of really trying because she might fail. I've tried to draw that out through other things, like her being afraid to take over her mom's garden for the same reason. But I'm not sure how to show this epiphany she has about her marriage without being either heavy handed or much too subtle.
Anybody have ideas as to how to work on any or all of these problems? Stories where you love the dialogue/description/ending? Exercises to do to help? Best Blogger Tips


Katie F said...

It's not a short story, it's a full-length novel, but Ann Patchett's 'The Magician's Assistant' does all those things well in my opinion.

FatCharlatan said...

Read it out loud into a tape recorder (even your phone's voice mail will do) so you can "hear" it spoken, especially the dialogue.

If you need a pair of eyes to look at it, I'd be happy to do so (for what it's worth). DON'T feel obligated, though...I totally understand if you're not ready to show it to the world.

Play a "what if" game...pick the most bizarre ending you can think of..what if Susan ran off with Harold...what if Susan figures out she's gay...raise the stakes and just write THAT ending and see how that changes what you know about the characters.

Bug said...

Thanks to you both! FC, I will take you up on that offer in a few days, once I work out some of these beginning kinks. Katie, I read that book a while ago--I'll relook at it. Bel Canto is my absolute favorite book.

KF said...

I enjoyed Bel Canto, too. Magician's Assistant is still my favorite of hers, though.