You’ve heard of writing prompts, now we have revision prompts! Each prompt will give you a specific writing issue to check for in your WIP, along with tips on how to fix each. Going through this process one issue at a time will not only help polish your current novel but will also teach you specific ways to improve your writing for your next story.
AUTHOR INTRUSION: A literary technique where the author inserts himself into the story to say something directly to the reader. Some people consider this a good thing, because it creates a direct relationship between author and reader. The downside of this, however, is that to do this, an author has to interrupt the action of the story to say his piece, and often jolts the reader out of of the story. (Think Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.)
SEARCH FOR WORDS THAT COMMONLY INDICATE AUTHOR INTRUSION:
1) Little did he know (also with “she” and “they”)
2) What he didn’t know (also with “she” and “they”)
3) Soon he would find out (variations: by next week/after their meeting/within a month, etc; he would discover/learn/understand–you get the drift; anything that indicates something that will happen in the future which the POV character would not know)
ALSO CHECK FOR any place where a character goes off on a rant about something political or ethical. Does it flow well into the narrative? Does it fit the character’s personality? If not, there’s a good chance it will come across to the readers as the author plugging his own opinion in through the character. (Michael Crichton often does this.)
One of the keys to publication is a willingness to learn. We hope our Revising Prompts will help you learn more about the craft of writing and speed you on your way to publication.