For a writer, I can be terrible at thinking about the purpose of my words.
I realised this as I was helping everwalker with some editing last week, looking for ways to make one of her scenes punchier. All my suggestions were about taking things out rather than adding them in, because I’m that sort of editor as well as that sort of writer. There’s always a conscious element to the choices I make in that process, but for the first time another part of the process, one that had previously been happening subconsciously, came to the fore.
I realised that I was thinking about what each sentence did in the reading experience. Not just what information it conveyed, but what it represented as a function in the scene. What changes in this sentence? What emotional impact does it have?
Several sentences in a row can convey different descriptive information while all serving the same function, for example telling you that a character is tense. In a slow scene that’s fine, it adds vividness, but once the pace picks up you really just need to convey that tension and quickly move on.
I’ve never read my own work in quite such a functional way before, but something has clearly clicked in my brain. I expect it will make my writing and editing better, as well as giving me a new perspective as a reader.
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Quick update on the e-book. It’s been delayed by a mixture of other deadlines and technical failure on my part. I wanted to get a mailing list set up before I publish, so that I can direct readers there from my books. But two days after switching domains to andrewknighton.com I discovered that I’d done that in the only way that didn’t let me embed a signup link. Curse my mildly inadequate research!
I then put off solving this for a while, because mailing lists and internet domains are slightly outside my comfort zone. And when I came back to it yesterday I realised that it wasn’t a big problem – I could have a signup page over on Mailchimp and a page here to direct to that.
So yes, I failed at the internet, but at least now I have a mailing list. And if you’d like to receive updates when I have a new story out, as well as occasional free stories and offers on the books I will soon start to release, then please go and sign up.
Image by bark via Flickr creative commons.