For those of you who didn’t read my previous post on receiving my manuscript back from the editor (If you’d like to read it now, this is the link https://thomasrydder.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=757&action=edit), I’m turning the whole experience into a posting category, and passing on what I’m learning from the whole thing.
Lesson one – paint the picture
It’s very easy (at least for me) to explain what’s happening in a scene to the reader. Something like a tour guide motoring down the middle of Hollywood and Vine with a bunch of retirees oohing and ahhing at all the pretty movie stars and their houses. And actually the tour guide is doing okay, because the Gin and Geritol crowd can SEE the stars and their abodes – my reader can’t. So he or she has to be shown. And “shown” is the key word here. An example from my book is below. First is my version, submitted. Second is what I’ve rewritten upon reading what my editor had to say:
Nah – “In due time, Flapjack had been absorbed seamlessly into his adoptive family. An enormous doggie bed now lay right below Elizabeth’s (although after Mommy-Jackie tucked her in, he always came up to sleep with her), and his food and water bowls were beside the kitchen table. Oversized chew toys and bones lay scattered about, and a doggy door was installed on the rear door, allowing him free reign to be inside or out.”
Yah – “In due time, Flapjack had been absorbed seamlessly into his adoptive family, and Elizabeth had been true to her word. It was she who ensured his bowls were full, called him to go outside for a walk, and (with Jackie’s help), gave him his bath. She said her prayers with Flapjack in his bed, and once Momma-Jackie left, she silently bade the big dog to lie beside her. It wasn’t long until Jackie caught on and snuck back into Lizzie’s room to peek, but the forlorn look in the dog’s droopy eyes was enough to convince her to exit again without protest.
They had also installed a doggie door on the rear door, to allow him free reign to move about. Even Barlow had been observed lying up against his bony head from time to time, while they all watched television in the evening.”
You can see the difference, of course. In the first version, I’m telling. And it’s as though the doggie bed, bowls, and toys just magically appeared out of nowhere, where in the corrected version, we see the actions taking place. Makes for a much more vivid experience. It’s all about pictures.
Ok, short but sweet. More posts on my corrections (a lot of them, trust me) coming soon.