“Not Quite Brutal Editorial”

(of my own work, sorry if you were expecting something else)

Before I transcribe and post Part 2 of ? of “the Friendly Vacation,” I’m going to destroy the previous part… editorially. It might be good to see what/where I’m lacking as I work on future things, to see if recognizing problems can help be its own enforcer against them.

Or something. (The next goal is to learn how to speak less convolutedly.)

INTRO: Too descriptive. How to shorten that so that in evokes the same feeling? Or, better, how to write it shorter, so that it evokes greater feeling? It’s clear the story isn’t going to open with action, so where’s the dialogue? The main character (MC) is mentioned quickly enough, but the joke of describing him as a lady isn’t executed properly. The set-up is flawed. It’s old poetic tradition… and there’s nothing funny about that, except the small bit of misdirection.

How can some of this description be turned into action? Can we set the scene with a big sigh as he leaves the studio, having just judged a horrible show of some kind? Mostly, it’s boring to read about the character, there should be doing to describe some of this stuff. Where’s the theme? I know it comes later, (I’m only on paragraph 4), but with some action, it can be presented that much faster. It’s nice to tell the reader what kind of story it is, or what I hope to prove in the story, since that can be its own “hook.” Plus, even though this isn’t a children’s story, it’s best to start thinking in those terms. They like things simple!

Instead of action, or dialogue, I have “thinking about the past,” which is not interesting or exciting. In fact, it’s something done on a regular basis by everyone. So, you know, not very good “flight of fancy” material. Plus, it takes a while to get to that, since I have to sit through how awful Justin’s job is. I need some bustling there, some feeling. Surrounded, crushed by bodies, then physically unable to open the door to leave early, prompts a helpful fan to do it for him. The fan can explain that it’s his job as a member of the living to help such a beautiful person. Something, action, action, action. Or doing, doing, doing.

It’s not… unfunny, but am I such a sarcastic writer? When did I become so British? In light of recent (and historical events), I stand by what I said, even if it’s a little insensitive.

I use the word “boring,” a lot, too. It’s telling the reader how to feel, and uh, it’s right on.

Redundancy doesn’t help. The coma part is nice, it actually shows something. That can even become the opener, if it’s changed right. The survival of the coma can be the window to the changes to come, as it is now, but with an earlier set, can set a quicker pace? It’ll lend some weight to Justin and perhaps help foster the feelings the reader is supposed to have for him.

I don’t know about the SUV bit. It’s inaction/action, is it funny enough to stand as it is with some rework? Or, can it be something that happens a lot, so the “everyday” manner it was already handled with seems appropriate? It was easy enough to cut out the driver, but in an effort to change the intro into something with appeal, he could come back and warn Justin of the impending crash in the first few lines. (There has to be a crash, also dialogue opening.) Justin “not wishing to die having just saved his life from dying from boredom” or whatever the theme-style thought could be.

And as exciting as a car crash is to read about, did I describe it well enough for that? What’s missing? Sound and sensation, more action? Smoke. It’s the climax of Act 1, as written now, and I already know I didn’t do that scene justice. It does set up the questions, “What’s happening to Justin?” “Who is Nate?” (< maybe), so that’s good. The theme is mentioned in there somewhere. But, the beginning of Act 2 is not Nate’s car where the next scene opens. So, there’s definitely some room for change there. For pace.

But, you know, snarky sarcasm aside, it’s not terrible. It took far longer to write than it should have, and even though I know to stop editing as I write, I can’t! I’m hoping that seeing all the errors and problems in the last chapter will show me that there’s so much to be fixed in post that I’ll learn there’s no need to edit. While drafting.

I need that slap in the face and someone to scream the definition of “rough” to me. It’s not “perfect draft” after all. I’ve just been ruined because I’ve handed in so many rough drafts as “finished” school papers. Those days are over, the habits are buried deep, but they aren’t irremovable, and they aren’t something that, even left unchecked, will stop me from doing this.

Sure, my work needs work. Especially if it wants to compete in a heavily-saturated market. But I do have some chops here and I’m somewhat armed with knowledge. I am armed with notes!

While extensively rewriting part 1 is on my list as per the new editing suggestions (see above), I won’t do so until the entire tale has been posted in its parts. I REFUSE to get hung up on the rewriting because that’s a very real danger.

Ah, improvement does make me feel better! I hope everyone can feel this way about something.

-j.

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