SO here’s me pretending I’m an expert! Okay. I love editing, so here are tips on editing/rewriting your novel (which I believe I am an EXPERT in… *cough* that one plotless draft *cough* the 100 pgs of no plot *cough*)
Also I go full grammar teacher on you so WELCOME TO GRAMMAR 101!
Oh no! Your draft is become suuuuuuper cliche! What do you do now??!
Well, you look at it. What’s cliche about it? Is your female character a HUGE Mary Sue? Is the plot straight out of a Hallmark movie? Don’t worry, we can turn this ugly knitted doily into a gorgeous, thriving money making machine!
Let’s start with the Mary Sue. She’s shy and mousy, but the guys are all over her. She doesn’t want their attention… she just wants the love of one super-hot-mega-man with killer cheekbones. She could never get him. She’s too plain. Too ordinary, even though she has hundreds of men pining after her. No one could ever love her. But she does have some good qualities! She’s smart and can kick anyone’s butt! She knows what to say at all times. She’s friendly and always can be relied on in a pinch. Her only fault is either she can’t sing, or her hair gets messy on occasion. She’s the color beige personified.
HOW DO WE FIX THIS MONSTROSITY?
First, humanize her. Does she really need to be shy AND smart AND friendly AND reliable? (I’m not saying people can’t be all those things)
Her “bad” qualities should be part of her. One of my bad qualities is making jokes all the time- and not really knowing when it is and isn’t appropriate. I’m still (I hope) a likable person.
Give her some PERSONALITY. Like, (using me as an example ahaha) I fake confidence a LOT and I’m really just super anxious about… I don’t even know. Give your characters things to struggle with: school, friends, mental health, injury, WHATEVER.
And maybe, eventually, let her realize she might not NEED the super-mega-hot-Thor-man and let her be content as her character growth. SEE! She could struggle with being content with what she had, and by the end of the book she could’ve learned how to be content! See, was that so hard?
NOW ON TO THE ROMANCE.
Let’s say your romance is LITERALLY a hallmark movie. A nerdy guy who is SUPER “hot” (see that sarcasm?) and the busy busy busy single girl who doesn’t have time for rOManCe. But then they run into each other at a coffee shop and BLAM they’re in love. Actually, it’s all just romance. You really couldn’t tell they were in love if it wasn’t for the constant flirting and kissing and dates.
Let’s fix this. First, fix the cliche mary sue/alpha male characters. Pleaseee.
Now the romance? Well, you can take the cliche and switch it around so fast, your readers will get whiplash.
They’re in the coffee shop, and instead of falling in lOVe they just brush each other off. THen they just keep seeing each other and it’s awkward and weird and nothing really happens because yoU DOn’T neeD romANce.
But if you really really want the romance just show it. Show the love. And have little things that people that love each other ACTUALLY do. I know my parents are in love and they aren’t constantly glued by the lips. Maybe the guy gives her his last gummy worm? Maybe she calls him before a big game to encourage him? IDK, but I read this somewhere… (IDK where, sorry.) “If you need them to kiss for the audience to tell they’re in love, you’re doing it wrong.”
Also… maybe you don’t need a romance?
Just sayin. (again)
Do you want a grammar lesson? No? TOO BAD.
Are your words in a jumble? Do you mix up their they’re there all the time? Are your verbs just so dang passive? Wellllll never fear! Chief of Grammar Police (that’s me) is here to help!
DOLLARIZE THOSE WORDS.
No, don’t use words like ‘egregious’ when you can just say ‘horrible’ or ‘outrageous.’
I’m talking about taking those WEAK words and putting in better, stronger words.
Like so: “My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” he said. OR “My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” he snarled.
Using stronger verbs makes you look more professional and NOT like you’re just some random high school kid with delusions of grandeur.
THIS is passive voice: The Kraken was killed by the pirate.
and this is an ‘action’ voice: The pirate killed the Kraken.
PlEaSe rEfrAin frOm uSing PassiVE pLEaSE. Your sentences will feel choppy and to me, it’s not pleasant to read.
Also, common mistakes like YOU’RE or YOUR. Or THEY’RE THERE THEIR. It shouldn’t be too hard to catch if you’re rereading. Just make sure your using the correct word.
THis is super important. Okay.
Incorrect examples: Correct examples:
“I love you” Ash screeches.
“I love you,” Ash screeches.
“I know,” Scarlet runs from the room, blushing.
“I know.” Scarlet runs from the room, blushing.
Rush groans and buries his face in his hands, “not this again.”
Rush groans and buries his face in his hands. “Not this again.”
Eddie slumps into a chair, “Why, oh why me,” Eddie groans, “can I just die”?
Eddie slumps into a chair. “Why, oh why me,” Eddie groans. “Can I just die?”
“Fine by me,” Caspian, shrugging, crosses the ship’s deck. He’s lying. He would one hundred percent care if Eddie died, “I’ll find your gun.” Brizo waves the pistol above her head, “no need! I found it!”
“Fine by me.” Caspian, shrugging, crosses the ship’s deck. He’s lying. He would one hundred percent care if Eddie died. “I’ll find your gun.”
(separate paragraph) Brizo waves the pistol above her head. “No need! I found it!”
Those are just a few examples of common mistakes I see (especially in my old writing. ew.)
ONE LAST GRAMMARY BIT:
She was running away!
Try: She ran away!
He is crying on the beach.
Try: He cries on the beach.
I WAS LYING HERE’S ONE LAST GRAMMARY BIT:
Three basic types of sentences. Simple, compound, and complex.
Simple: one clause with subject and a verb (Rush laughs at Ash before launching himself off a cliff.)
Compound: two independent clauses with a FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so (Eddie hates Caspian, but her actions say otherwise.)
Complex: independent and dependent clause with a subordinating conjunction: such as although, because, etc. (Caspian and Brizo became best friends, which made Eddie jealous.)