Improving your skill

Tis I, Steven. I have returned.

And what does this return carry with it? Oh, not much. Another book read, more anime watched, and my journey into Agents of Shield just beginning. And of course editing.

I’m having a great time reading what myself and the co-author have written. Few corrections needed still, though I’m re-wording things a bit. Trying to make it less samey, if you understand. Using the same word paragraph after paragraph when trying to explain things isn’t helpful. And certainly is annoying to me.

There have been several books in the past that for whatever reason the author continued to use a certain phrase over and over. Now this can certainly work if it is a build on the previous use, but when it’s merely a lazy way of using words, or as if a thesaurus hasn’t been used, it sounds dull and boring. To me it sounds like the author didn’t go over their first draft with fresh eyes, and just accepted whatever they had written previously. Perhaps done to meet some deadline, yet it makes it seem lifeless. As if the writer didn’t care about what they were writing. Or so arrogant that they can’t imagine editing their golden words.

It’s not nearly as bad or noticeable when you just read it, but when read aloud it becomes readily apparent. Hence why I recommend reading your book aloud, to an audience if you have one. Or have a text to speech program read it back to you while you edit. All editing I’ve done for previous books have included this step, and I think they are better for it. Maybe they aren’t perfect still, but I know for sure they flow much better than they had from that first draft.

When writing the first draft don’t worry about it so much though. You’ll get bored if you have nothing to fix. Also your job in that first draft is to just to tell the story. Maybe you’ve done so with an outline, but don’t get too caught up in making it perfect first. You’ll be editing and reviewing. Or you should be. You can’t expect it to be perfect the first time around. You’ll try to make it so when you edit.

Another thing I recommend is reading. Whether it’s a good book or bad, they seem to help you understand what you like about your own style, or they show you another style you’d like to write in. All books can’t be gems, but even the bad ones can show you what to do or not to do. Hence why I think my current writing has improved, besides the whole repetition of writing itself.

Creating, or writing, is like a muscle. You must continue to exercise it, else-wise you’ll slip back to where you began. Never improving. Yet when you push and put effort into working, you’ll see improvement. It may be slight, but you’ll get better. And if you ever hope to build those giant muscles that allow you to easily sit before a keyboard and just be able to write beautiful prose after prose, you must exercise. Reading is a part of that. So work, and be better. Read, and be better. Learn and improve.

We all start out as novices, even if some of our creations are purposeful and lovely from the start. But time and effort will reward, and you will reap benefits that you can’t imagine.

With that I’ll leave you this week. I hope you find something you enjoy working on and creating. All I’ve said stands for any creative task. Work on it, and look at what others are doing. You’ll get better.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 23% into editing

Steven Oaks

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