11. Rewriting

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| Using Criticism | Put It on the Line |

You're the first reader of your work, and should be your own toughest critic. Remember, you're writing a story that you would want to read. So don't spare your hard-won text. It can survive tough handling on your part.

First things first. If you're using a computer, print out your story. Print it double-spaced, so you'll have room to mark changes between the lines. While you can do a lot of editing right on the screen, the printed manuscript will probably look different to you. I always find that a lot of things jump out at me that I just didn't see when I first viewed my work on screen. Grab your favorite primitive writing implement (pencil or pen) and get to work.

more info
Printing out a manuscript

Here are some things to keep in mind while evaluating your work:

Structural considerations

Beginning — Is there a hook to grab the reader?
Middle — Do the following scenes advance the story, or do they wander aimlessly? Everything should point in some way toward the ending.
Pacing (closely related) — Does the story keep moving?
Are all the scenes necessary or helpful?
Are there scenes you haven't written that would help the story?
Do the characters' motivations and actions make sense?
Are there holes in the plot? Mistakes in the science?
Is there consistency — in the science, the world, the characters and their actions?
Are the characters true to themselves?
Are there dangling threads you forgot to tie up?


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