Post-NaNo Update: Flicking Words on the Ear

Started the third major (fifth total so far) edit run on Pearl of Fire. RL problems or not, I have to admit I needed a break from the manuscript. Not sure how other people find edits working, but I’ll hit a point where my brain just starts skimming over the words, instead of trying to fix them. End result: frustration, wasted time, and no improvement to the draft. So it’s always better to stop when I notice my eyes sliiiiiding off the words like they were greased, and do something else. Whether that “something else” is more writing, beads, or various RL stuff depends on 1) needs of the day and 2) how much mental energy I’ve got left.

(There are times I’ll even put beads down because too tired, don’t want to mess up.)

So I had an enforced not-looking-at-draft stretch, and just picked it up again on Monday. Went through the first few pages and found some spots where I could make the words more active and sneak in a little more description. Prior drafts have definitely improved this from my starting rough, but – I hope to fix it even better. Because I want people to be able to see the action. There’s fire and snark and venomous water all flying around in the first few pages, and I hope it gets people on the edge of their seats.

There are still two spots in the draft I need to write some new bits to fit in, and an event turned out to be critical enough it needs foreshadowing bits sprinkled in the earlier text. I’ll need to revv up to those, so I’ve started with action and image-details edits to get going.

I’m not sure if this is the best way to describe it, but this stage is like flicking the words in my head, to see if a sentence holds together tightly or if there’s a “wobble” that needs hammering on. In the first few pages one of the paragraphs kept poking at me, but in prior drafts I could only tinker around the edges of it. This time through the action and characterization in the paragraph were right, so I could rewrite the phrasing and details.

The way I see it, flick. Listen to the how the sentence sounds. Pick out what doesn’t ring right. Flick again. Tweak. Until it finally sounds solid. Hit the next sentence; repeat until the paragraph is done. Then flick that, to see if it all still works.

At this point I don’t do that to every individual paragraph.  Just the ones that nag me. Because if they bother me, it’s a good bet they’ll bother a reader. No way can I have that!

Onward. 😉

11 thoughts on “Post-NaNo Update: Flicking Words on the Ear

  1. The battle for a good yarn continues! Rally your grammar, prepare your prose, and sally forth to do battle with boredom! As I shall slink away back to my homework. Darn it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not sure how other people find edits working, but I’ll hit a point where my brain just starts skimming over the words, instead of trying to fix them.


    Every writing advice guide I’ve ever found all tell you to put the draft away in-between major draft sweeps, at least for a couple of days, so you can look at with fresh eyes. Because after a while, your brain simply refuses to pay attention to what is actually on the page. Maybe it’s just plain tired of working on this story. Who knows why? The point is your eyes either start sliding off the words and not really seeing them, or knowing there is an error but unable to see what, exactly, is wrong.

    Couple of days off and your brain has probably re-set enough to see all of the things that it had started ignoring.

    And, of course, the problem could simply be one is tired in general and needs some more sleep before trying to do that much mental exercise. Or something to eat (Your brain can eat glucose like nobody’s business), Or both.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds a lot like how I edit my math-based art. Only instead of flicking it, I poke it.

    It’s so interesting seeing all the different ways artists have of interacting with their works to make them feel right.

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    1. For some reason, sometimes I like using machinery based analogies for writing. Your statement and Vathara’s, for whatever reason, reminded me of a thing I read about studying mechanical systems by putting energy into them at different frequencies or something.

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  4. I’ve seen some stories that could use flicking, with the occasional awkward phrasing that trips me up.

    I’ve seen some stories that needed some violent shaking, where every paragraph was a struggle.

    I’ve also seen some stories where they had too much flicking, and they rearrange a phrase so it flows better, but accidentally invert it and turn it into nonsense.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Have you tried using different fonts between drafts? I’ve found it helps make the words less predictable, so I catch more things.

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