As a writer, I'm always looking for techniques to help me hone my prose and improve my output. I know, I know, it's called, 'find a good editor'! But even before that you really need to transform each version into a better version—whether you do it chapter by chapter (or scene by scene) or from start to finish. One of my resource sites is www.bookbaby.com They have a blog with three categories: writing, self publishing and promotion. All three categories have really good content. Recently on their site, I came across a blog post with the above title (posted by Dr. Dawn Field, author of Biocode, published by Oxford University Press) and I want to share it with you.
All eleven tips are more than useful but a few seemed obvious to me such as Read The Story Out Loud. Having done scripts for TV spots and programs for so long, that's one of my default methods. Her second suggestion, Play Your Story In Your Mind As A Movie, is also a standard practice for me. How could you write anything for TV or Film and NOT do that? Obviously this site and this particular list is oriented toward books...Duh, it's BOOK Baby! Nevertheless, they're good ideas and it's a real service to have all eleven of them together in an easy list—no matter what form you're writing for. Which, by the way, is the same reason we came up with RoundTable.media's TOP TEN blog!
But back to the New Look blog ideas...
I think my favorite is Dawn's suggestion, Study The Opening And Closing Of Each Chapter. As I read it, it's something I felt should be second nature to me but knew, ever so humbly, is not. Isn't that true of some of the best advice you've ever heard? It seems so obvious, so intuitive and yet...you're not doing it ! She makes the point to encourage better flow of your story from chapter to chapter. For the screen this is really important. Whether its one scene or your overall screenplay you can't underestimate the power of the opening and closing. It's the set-up and pay-off or the hook and the cliff hanger or any number of combinations that make each chapter/scene come alive on their own—as well as integrate into the overall story arc(s).
Dr Field includes other great tips such as Remove Each Chapter One By One; Write SomethIng Different and Read It Backwards, along with others. If you're a writer—or an editor or any kind of content manager—you should read her post. She expounds on each tip with a practical explanation which is what makes it so useful!