Writing Time, Part 47. Writing From a Position of Power

DragonArcherp1smallEditorial revisions will almost certainly be necessary for every story, but we’ll be wise to approach editorial, whether paid or unpaid, from a position of storytelling power. Well proofed stories that are not tightly revised for narrative structure before they’re sent to editors risk such broad-stroke suggestions as “You have too many characters, take most of them out.” Or, impossibly narrow editorial desires such as “Give me a beginning like the first ten pages of MacDonald’s Lillith.” Editors work hard to keep sharp and insightful, but when a book’s structure is very loose and tangled, we’ll look for any loose end to pull. Just trying to help.

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”― HG Wells

All readers, of all ages, want and expect a resonant, flawed hero with whom to identify (thus, a small kindness or sacrifice near the start); an authoritative start (time, place, tone, setting, promise of genre, and a hint at the central conflict); exchanges of power and non-linear, original adventures; a teeter on the edge of real or metaphorical death; transformation; a final face-off and a satisfying resolution. If we can keep our solid narrative structure outlines to hand, (I like to call this, doing previsions,) rather than simply drafting what comes next, then we give editors solid storytelling to edit, our second-round revisions will be simpler, and our readers will want more of our work.

And, readers do include the editors to whom we submit stories, and who would generally prefer to work from narrative strength.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

Suprisingly gripping reads about editors: F Scott Berg’s‘ Max Perkins, Man of Genius and James Thurber’s The Years With Ross

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: Each of your supporting characters forces the hero to learn and grow towards the final conflict. Kudos from your Writing Muse

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