There are some who are lucky enough to write a novel and make it beautiful in two or three drafts. (Secretly, I loathe them. Why can’t I do that?!) Most of us, on the other hand, spend months and months, sometimes years, perfecting our works. By the time we’ve seen that story seven or eight or twenty times, not only are we too close to the story, but we may even hate it a little. How do we push through the weariness, bleariness, and general over-saturated brain fuzzies? Well, I like to:
Assign Parts, Read Aloud—Without doubt there is someone in your life who loves you (or at the very least is bribable), who will gladly practice reading troublesome scenes aloud with you. If that doesn’t work, read aloud and record your own voice. You’re bound to hear stilted, unnatural dialogue, pacing issues, and clunky phrasing.
Edit Chapters Out of Order—This is my favorite trick. Once I’ve swept through my story a hundred times, not only am I tired of it, but my eyes glaze over and I tend to anticipate the chain of events ahead rather than focusing on an aspect that needs fine-tuning. Reading chapters out of order prevents you from being swept away in the storyline. It gives you a new perspective—as if you’ve been dropped into the middle of the scene. To take this a step further, print out each chapter at a time. Reading type in ink really makes issues jump out from the page.
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