Sample Editorial Comments Vol. 3

Here are some more examples of my shameful lapses. Enjoy!

Since this is from Micah’s perspective, the phrase is not needed.

I like this sentence but wonder if there’s a better place later on to say this. Again, I think the reader can sense this in just the dialogue.

As is, it lays out too simply what the reader should be able to understand themselves. Can it be changed just a little?

I’m still having a problem with Lone Eagle’s voice. I can’t hear him saying phrases like, “In the meantime” or even “besides”, and instead of, “I think you know who it is,” I hear him simply saying, “You know who it is.” I’m curious to see how you edit this.

I don’t think you need this since you already state that Micah thought about this question before answering.

I think you can condense this para. It seems too much detail/info for something relatively inconsequential.

Lee, I’ve previously mentioned that there are sections of your writing that seem flawless. They read so smooth & natural that I couldn’t imagine putting the words together in any other way to say what you need them to. In the two sections I put in brackets above, I feel the opposite – like the sentences are forced and not as natural as your usual writing. I think it may simply be that you added too much information (A comment I’ve made previously) or that you’re kinda repeating yourself in order to ensure that the reader understands what you’re trying to say. I’m not exactly sure how I’d edit it, but I think, for example, in the last para, I’d keep the idea of Micah feeling remorse at the loss of their friendship & the last sentence as is, but maybe cut back on whether they accepted his apology and how he did not feel like he wronged them.

You don’t need this. Trust that you’ve made it clear that Micah is very quick to get hot and that he has to expend effort to suppress it; you don’t need to over highlight this.

That’s all from two chapters of the book. In looking through the comments, I’m seeing certain trends that indicate a wondrous thing for me–I’m overwriting. I’ve always been one to underdescribe what’s going on and then have to go back and add detail later. Now, it seems my writing has evolved, or devolved, to where I’m front-loading more detail than I actually need.

Having other people read your work before you submit is the ideal way to catch this kind of mistake before it goes public. It does take a certain willingness to swallow your pride and make tough decisions regarding your work (“Kill your darlings,” said Hemingway) that you may or may not totally agree with. Still, if your readers find a problem with your writing, there is a reason for it and your job, now that you are not composing fresh material for this piece, is to find that reason and get it fixed. It’s as if the readers are x-ray technicians looking at the bones of your work to figure out what’s wrong before you, the surgeon, goes into fix the damage. Thankfully, the only scars it leaves are those on our egos.

More tomorrow. Perhaps.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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