Editing: Breaking It Up, It’s Time

Editing: Breaking It Up, It's Time

Great writing comes with great technique right? Well…sometimes. Mostly it comes with really, really good editing.

Today I’m here to talk to you about breaking it up and how it can work for you while you go through edits. And some may read this and go, duh, I knew that, but can you say that you really did it? Can you? If you’re reading this and still sitting here going: “Maybe later.” Then you need to get yourself moving and now.

It’s the hardest part of writing anything. Or at least that’s how I find it. Others will tell you that writing something on a blank page is harder but that’s a lie. Shaping and moulding what you already had into something better, something crisper is exhausting, it’s hard to think of how something looks when you need to make it tighter or bolder.

How about writing suspensively (it’s not a word, but hey I’m writer! I can make these up) too?

That’s something that takes skill and the right technique. It’s about stripping back what you have into a piece that’s easy to read, quick and full of action. Some people feel like this is something that needs to be dawn out with every little detail mentioned and maybe that works but the best way? Short sentences. Quick dialogue, snappy answers. They get a reader turning pages faster, reading through their shifts at work and taking your book with them as they walk through their day to day life. I know that I do (currently I’m crushing hardcore on Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter Series, oh my!)

My favourite thing in the whole wide world is quick dialogue.


My question to you, is they why the hell shouldn’t it be?

A lot of feedback I’ve gotten is that sometimes my dialogue is hard to follow when I take away the he said, she saids but I’ve read books without it and as long as you can follow who is saying what then it works. In fact it works so well. When I was editing I posted a snippet of my novel on my Facebook page that involved a great piece of snappy dialogue because it made me laugh, and I didn’t realise that it would. But I knew without needing to know who was saying what, who was talking. Try saying that fast five times….

Dialogue works when the characters burst from the pages; when what they’re saying makes perfect sense (also when they are in order, please don’t confuse them up on the page!) it’s the lifeline of a story, but action works just the same. Action needs to be short and punctuated, I’ve learned that the hard way. I always go on and on about it but I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to trust your reader. They will get it you don’t need to describe everything.

Not sure of how to make your writing snappy, try this:

Write out a paragraph or two from your favourite book (or even the book right next to you) and look at the words, then refine it. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy, refine it. Cut down. Look at how you can make of it and put some suspense element in it. Make the sentences small, choppier. Use line breaks to your advantage and for god’s sake, don’t be afraid to mess around with it.

Writing is all about taking chances; it’s about knowing the rules and being able to break the mould.

Trust yourself.

I trust you.

Don’t be afraid of messing things up. So you break the action up in the wrong place, that’s okay, go back and fix it. Until it’s in print, you can edit it as many times as you like (look at me on edit number 3 or 4 of my novel and still finding mistakes.) Life isn’t perfect and neither will be writing, but that’s what editing does, it helps.

So how did you go with your version? Tell me about it in the comments, I want to hear how you went.

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