Robert Hamill

Prose Revision

Revision is an essential step in shaping a story its most effective form.  For prose revision, my most useful takeaways were

  • I wrap up the story too quickly, not giving enough attention to the emotional completion that the story needs and the reader wants
  • Sometimes my POV character lacks dimensions when I focus too much on the action around rather than the POV character’s motivations and reaction to the action
  • Look for opportunities to use brief flashbacks  to deepen the character and round the story dimension
  • The two types of critical mindset – story meaning and word-by-word – are different.  Do story meaning first. Don’t try to do both at same time, because spelling, grammar, and syntax will stop you from seeing bigger picture.  Since the words often altered during story meaning, the word-by-word needs are not fixed until the first type of critical review.
  • Check that narrative summary is used when action is mundane, not involving central conflict of story
  • Use indirect dialogue to focus the actual scenes on the point of conflict while retaining the narrative flow
  • The importance of title selection merits a brainstorming session and time for weighing the pros and cons, before the final choice
  • Consider carefully the opening distance from the POV.  It is the limiting distance I can later use in the piece.  If I  want to close with a theme of historic import, then I need to check the opening for an historic distance.

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