Thursday, January 9, 2014

The "Dreaded" Edits

Hi, everyone. Well, the WIP is coming along. I'm into the climax portion. I keep on ratcheting things up for my main characters. Every time I think I've done enough to them, some evil plot hatches into my brain and I can't resist.

Well, this post isn't about those evil plots, but I do hope you are finding ways of making things horrible for your heroes and heroines.

Today I wanted to show you a portion of what I'm working from here and how I would change it, or why, or maybe you'll see something and think it should be changed. I'm working from typed pages from the old manuscript.

I've got Rachel Mohr in a vehicle with Erik, who is a vampire, only she doesn't know it. She just knows that she really shouldn't stay with him...and you'll see why.
All corrections are on the typed page and I'm writing it as is--the strike-throughs are on the typed page.
(the following is from Vampire Legacy, 2004-05)

"I heard a noise under the truck when I crossed those tracks. I'd better check it out." Erik pulled into a parking lot and made a tight u-turn and parked it. He killed the lights, and turned off the engine.

Rachel wanted to believe him, but everything inside her was sending up red flags. His eyes, his skin tone, now this. It just didn't feel right. In fact he didn't sound like the Erik she knew. She sat in the truck, watching him walk around the truck (it), bend low as if to look under it.

Headlights blared suddenly. Blinding her, and then the beams rocked up and down as they went over the tracks, and again speared their way. <toward them.

She watched the vehicle turn into the lot. She hoped it was a police car. But it wasn't. It was long, and sleek. {and gray] She was perplexed to see a stretch limo enter such unsavory parts of town. In fact she wasn't all that crazy about being here herself.

Okay, this is about all I'll go through for now.

The highlighting are areas that need to either be re-worded, re-worked or taken out. In a way this creates the backdrop, but it's rough and possibly we need more emotion from Rachel, because basically she's been abducted. The word perplexed also doesn't fit here at all. Perplexed is too soft a word. Maybe "shocked" would be better.

A rewritten version could possibly go more like this:

"I heard a noise under the truck," Erik said. "I'd better go check it out." Erik pulled into a parking lot and made a U-turn and parked. He killed the lights and turned off the engine.

Dubious, Rachel sat assessing the situation. Everything about Erik sent up red flags. His eyes, which glowed oddly in the dark, and his skin tone, which was white, not the nice tan she remembered--all of it making him look more like a stranger. She sat watching him walk around, and dip down, looking at the under carriage. Right, something wrong with the truck, like he's never used that excuse before.

Headlights blared into the cab, blinding her. The beams rocked up and down as the car went over the tracks, then turned back to spear her eyes again.

The vehicle turned into the lot. She hoped it might be a police cruiser, but it wasn't. Long, gray and sleek, she was startled to see a stretch limo in this part of town. I'm not too crazy about it myself.

Well, that's better, I guess. I wanted to show those of you who aren't really sure about edits, what can be done, and what you might want to look for. Since I'd written this several years ago, I've coached myself in how to find places in my writing that is weak. Not saying that I don't still have weakness in my writing, and that's what your beta readers are for--to point these out to you.

I've added the Italics for Rachel's thoughts, here. The addition helps in creating suspense here. That's what you want to build in a scene like this, if you are building up to something--which I am. Who's in the limo? Why is it here?

Next time I'm going to show you how to add suspense to your scenes. To build the suspense takes a little trick I've learned from reading Writer's Digest for years. It's not hard and for now I'll give you the four basics:

and to that I want to put with dialogue, "internal thoughts".
I'll try and find an excerpt to show you an example.

Okay, until next time--happy writing!

Let me know what you think, what stage you're at in your WIP, anything you like!


  1. This is my least favorite part of the process. I used to give my editors first drafts with a note: "Just tell me what's wrong with it!"

  2. I hear you. Oh, how things have changed... those were the days, my dear!

  3. Thanks, William. I changed it even more when I went to write it into the manuscript.


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