Monday, March 27, 2017

Lessons Learned

Nothing humbles me more than  editing a piece long laid aside and discovering all the mistakes that went unnoticed.  Now, I'm not talking about spelling or grammar, plot sequencing, or sentence constructions. All of those were* corrected in the fifth or sixth draft and verified in the final pre-submission  read-through, you know, when optimism rides high and I have not yet realized I have not done that final change that I think of seconds after hitting the submit button. C'est la vie I happily shrug; I can correct that in the galleys, that is, if and when they arrive.**

What humbles me is the discovery that the very sequencing of sentences, their style and length is often wrong.  For example, my action scenes should not contain lengthy descriptions or flowery adjectives. Reflections on previous actions, the dialectic of political differences, or the philosophy of western vs eastern  moral consequences somewhat detracts from whether the antagonist is going to chop my protagonist's damn head off with his sword.  The action scene should contain short, descriptive bursts of language that encapsulate the events underway. At the same time a series of short sentences can become tiresome so I have to throw in a few longer ones to break the flow. I think of it as taking a breath before plunging ahead, sort of like a mental comma.

On the other hand I discover that long descriptions of settings helps draw the reader into the story while short, abrupt sentences cheat the reader's imagination (and probably make them suspect my world-building skills) while longer, more carefully drawn descriptions might feed their hunger.

So I chop away at the dreary text, cut narrative to the essentials, and lovingly touch on the stage settings and interesting backdrop, all with an eye to improving the story for another submission

**and I remember 


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