Today’s writing prompt is all about keeping your readers in your story.
As you may be aware (and if not, pay close attention today), there are many things that can remove a reader from your story.
We, as writer’s, spend a great deal of time pulling the reader in, getting them emotionally and mentally involved in the story or characters and giving them questions they must have answered.
Little things can break that connection. It hurls the reader back into reality and a severed connection is difficult to repair.
Think of a Rollerblader or skateboarder cruising down the boardwalk. Wind blowing their hair, their shirt pulled tight across the torso and flapping wildly behind them. It is freeing, majestic, awe-inspiring for those mortals merely walking.
But the smallest thing can make that boarder come crashing down. A tiny pebble under the wheel, a crack too large to traverse, a stick, a sudden turn.
It is these pebbles and sticks in our books that make the reader crash back to reality.
Everything is going well. Smooth sailing the reader’s proverbial shirt flapping behind them as they churn through the our pages. Then BAM. A typo, or misuse of “there” or the wrong character’s name is used.
So today, we are going to look at editing! Dun dun duunnnnnn!
Find a small chapter in your WiP. If you don’t have one, write one. Then, read it out loud to find the pebbles, and rewrite to take them out.
What? Editing isn’t a writing prompt! It’s work!
I know. Loathsome isn’t it? But a necessary evil in our line of work. It is the pain that comes along with the pleasure. It is our job as authors to take that pain, take it all and not let it get through to the reader.
We sacrifice ourselves so our readers do not have to endure the pain and can instead focus only on the pleasure.
Searching for pebbles goes along with our reader retention lessons. It also correlates into engagement into our stories. Think about this. Which do you hate more? Editing your story and searching for pebbles, or reading a bad review because your reader found them instead?
So get out your chapter. It is time to scour for pebbles and sticks. Here is what you should be looking for:
- Typos of any kind
- Misuse of punctuation
- Spelling errors
- Using too big of a word
- Over-use of dialogue tags
- Bad grammar
- Sudden scene jumps
- Out of place scene details
- Anything else you think makes the reader slow, pause or stop reading
It is a daunting task. But breaking it up by chapter makes it a bit easier. As you learn what you are looking for, you will eventually spot them more easily. You will also notice them while you are writing more often. This allows you to prevent their existence in the first place, making your editing job easier.
So go grab your red pen, find those pebbles. Take one for the team, so to speak, so your reader has a clear path through your book!