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Writing Tips for Fiction Writers!


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Resurrect That Dying Novel
by Lee Masterson

Most writers will admit to having an old, half-finished manuscript tucked away in a bottom drawer somewhere. Some writers may even be losing momentum on their current project, believing their original idea is no longer valid, or worse, dying a slow painful death.

Is it possible, then, to resurrect these projects and breathe new life into them?

Of course it is.

Sometimes just reading through a long-ignored manuscript can spark the lost enthusiasm. Seeing it again after some time has passed can also highlight any problems there may be and send you on a rewriting binge to set it right.

But it's not always that simple. What if the manuscript really doesn't ignite anything within you anymore?

Try to identify what made the original idea behind the writing exciting to you in the first place. Then read through what you've written and be honest about the way the work makes you feel. Compare this feeling with the bare-bones excitement of the idea itself. Does the story you wrote convey the concept in the best possible light?

Often the problem is not in the idea, but in the development of the theme you have chosen to bring that idea to life. Perhaps one of the characters has taken your plot on a joyride that runs on a tangent to the original concept. Or perhaps the plot itself doesn't explore the idea fully enough to sustain the initial excitement you felt when you first had that burst of inspiration.

Be ruthless here. Cut all of the pieces that detract from your original concept. Don't worry about losing sections you like. You can always use those cut pieces in future writing projects. If they send your plot-line off on a tangent, then they play no part in your resuscitation effort.

Pull apart any sections of writing which don't contribute to the central theme, or advance your plot. Be scrupulous with any dialogue that wanders aimlessly and doesn't give your readers new information about the idea you wanted to write about in the first place.

After you've removed any scenes or characters that don't add to the development of your idea, read through what you have left. There may not be much left, but what is there should display enough to convey the original enthusiasm that sparked the whole idea in the first place.

In some sort of logical sequence, piece together the bits that remain. At the heart of these snippets you should see a tangible plot trying to emerge. Filling in the missing plot pieces at this point should be an easy step.

With the original spark you felt for that storyline restored, not only will you find the rewriting process much easier, but you will also find hidden reserves of motivation to drive you along.

As for the sections you ruthlessly cut, place them in a separate file. They can easily be resurrected too - as a healthy start on your next writing project.

Copyright 2001 Lee Masterson. All rights reserved


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