May 14 Writing Prompt

For the end of this week, we have touched on various aspects of details and identifying weaker spots of your writng as well as properly taking story notes.

Today, we will venture a little further down the pike and look at another avenue of story strengthening techniques.

For this writing prompt you will use your own WiP, a chapter or just a scene. By the time you are done you will have a better understanding of the basic building block of all narrative.

There is one thing that every book must have, every screenplay, every piece of copy, article blog or magazine. They all have one thing in common. They use words.

Now, I know what you are thinking (well, not you over there in the red shirt, but the rest of you). But, I want you to shift focus for just a moment.

Before we get into the writing prompt, I want you to understand the power of written words.

Unlike any other platform, the written word holds a power like nothing else.

The written word can time travel, it can conjure anything in seconds and when wielded properly can move you to another dimension.

I am writing these words in the past. You are reading them in the future. We are connected, through these words, spanning the complexities of space-time.

I can use these words to conjure a banjo playing teddy bear in your mind. Isn’t he cute with his little button up overalls and that tiny straw cowboy hat? Can you see him? Of course you can.

And, if I wielded my talents properly, I can put enough words together to whisk you away on a magical journey where that teddy bear uses his banjo to time travel.

Before I go on, let’s look at the writing prompt.

May 14

Pick a scene or chapter from your current work in progress and edit it over three different times. Each time you need to read the section out loud, without distractions, and make your edits between each turn.

Words have power and this is indisputable. It is also why people get so passionate and caught up in nuance, spelling errors, grammar mistakes or even the use of the Oxford comma.

Teddy bear
So this isn’t a banjo playing cowboy bear, sue me.

When you have an error it doesn’t just open the door for the reader to escape your story. It pulls the rug out from underneath them, punches them in the gut and throws them through that door while it is still closed.

It is an utter jolt to the reading mind and is a huge put-off.

For reader retention, enjoyment and repeat buys, you need to be perfect.

And yes, I hear you red shirt guy back there. You did spot a spelling error in a Stephen King novel. There is a grammar issue in a Dean Koontz book.

However, until you are writing 1 to 4 books per year that continuously sell over a million copies each, you aren’t allowed to make that comparisson.

For now, you need to make your story as perfect as you possibly can. Then you need to send it to a proofreader. Then you need to send it to a line editor. After all that is done, you need to check it over at least twice more again.

Get in that habit. Eliminate your mistakes, errors or slip ups, pay for the editing and learn how to prevent errors in the future. It is the best investment you can ever make in yourself.

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