Mar 4, 2010

First Impression & Lasting Impact.

Dog Show Detective edits are coming along nicely. I owe this completely to the resources I've found on editing that turned a daunting task into an achievable process. This week I've been looking at position and placement.
'cause position matters

Position, Position, Position!
By now you all would be knowing about the ol' opening hook necessity (or you can see a previous post I did on hooks here). The opening hook can get your reader interested in starting your novel, but it won't be enough to keep them going. There's no point in letting the rest of your story drag through.

In Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to IgnoreElizabeth Lyon explains the importance of certain positions throughout your novel. This guide (which I've found very practical) suggests spending an entire round of revision on 'power positions'.

What is Power Position?
"When a word, phrase, or sentence is in a first position, it serves as a hook to draw the reader in. The impact of the last position should cinch the meaning of the sentence or paragraph, and create suspense and curiosity leading to the next hook." Are you at least thinking carefully about where you pack the important stuff?
Miss 8 was today writing a story about a valuable piece of paper missing from the museum. Her story started by telling me all about Greg, the man in charge of guarding the valuable piece. I heard about his family and his work habits and then finally about the day he discovered the piece of paper was stolen. I suggested she start with the discovery, and then tell us about Greg. The re-write started by expressing the concern in finding such a valuable piece missing and what it might mean for his job, then we learn who 'he' is.
Miss 11's story would be about a thief who is escaping a detective and during the pursuit get's hit by a car. After learning about 'starting with the action', she decided to begin with the impact of the car hitting the thief and then explaining how he got there. This shows how the opening paragraphs of the chapter would have the hook, the excitement, the puzzle and the closing ones would explain and deepen the curiosity of the reader.
In Dog Show Detective, I've been working through my chapters and paragraphs to see how I go on position placement, but I think a big change will be for the placement of chapters in the book. I start before the action, I figured I needed to 'inform' my reader of what was going on. Wrong. I can inform them later, right at the start I want to make them wonder what's going on.

My other main source for editing has been How to Revise Your Novel. 
I know I rave about this course, but it has broken the process of editing down to weekly steps. I'm not sure what's coming up, but so far I've been able to complete the steps without difficulty. 
In lesson 2 I looked at the weight of each character and item mentioned in the narrative and making sure it directly links to the story and hopefully propels it along.
This week was lesson 3 and I had to summarise each scene into an impact sentence and write them on individual index cards (without knowing what Holly Lisle will want me to do with those cards, I have already found scenes that will be surplus). So far this course has had me identify problems and I haven't had to actually rewrite (yet - I KNOW that's coming!)

As well as editing, I have been working on my plotting for my next book (possibly named The Warracknabeal Kids). In 1939 a fire swept through the Warracknabeal racecourse, burning down the old decrepit clubhouse and providing much-needed insurance funds to build a new one. I'm using this as a setting for my story about a kid who struggles with morality and understanding that sometimes you have to do wrong to make things right. I think this is my favourite part of writing - planning. I love research and finding out more about my MC's world. Today I'm going to get a Google Maps pic of the small town he lives in.

I also received a Kreative Blog award (from Ann at All Write With Coffee - thanks!), the idea is that I pass it on, but you know what? I've decided if you follow me, or I follow you - then that means I love your blog and would like you to accept this award (I realise most of you probably already have it). Feel free to post it up and share ten things about yourself (I won't do that because I did it last post and things about me actually run out at 12). So for all my followers and followees - your award:


  1. I'm loving your editing tips. March started my editing madness, so I'm eyeballs deep. I'm gonna look into that course.

  2. You are a wealth of great info these days! I am bookmarking and printing these editing posts. Love them! :-)

  3. Thanks for sharing about your editing process and resources. I like the award. I need to pause to write about the awards I've recently received.

  4. Great post and congratulations on the award.

  5. I'm giving you an award on my Sat. blog post. :-)

  6. Thanks guys, I'm enjoying finding out about editing - silly me thought it involved looking for typos and spelling errors not so long ago.
    Shannon thank you for the Sugar Doll award - do I know 10 things that others don't??? ;-)