Friday, 24 April 2009

Self-editing advice from 'Discovered' author - Sarwat Chadda

The third and final instalment on self-editing from British SCBWI 'Discovered' author, SARWAT CHADDA - author of THE DEVIL'S KISS.

You can read Sarwat's interview on this blog, here

Sarwat's Top Ten Self-Editing Tips

1. Make sure your protagonist is in Scene One Chapter One. If they appear in Chapter 4, cut chapters 1-3.

2. The best place for exposition is under heightened circumstances. When it really matters.

3. Dialogue is always good. People skip paragraphs of text but they focus in on dialogue.

4. Raise the stakes. What happens in your story must fundamentally transform your protagonist else it's another 'day in the life of' and most days are the same as the last. Of all your protagonist's long life why did you choose to write about this part of it?

5. Late in, early out. Don't dilly dally in a scene.

6. Avoid dialogue being too 'on the nose'. What people say and what they mean is rarely the same.

7. Delve deep into your protagonist's inner world. What do they feel? Make your reader feel it too.

8. Cut out all vampires.

9. No, really, cut them all out.

10. And zombies.

Anyone down London way, you can meet Sarwat on Saturday, 25th April, from 3.20 until 3.40pm at The Bookseller Crow on the Hill bookshop.
There will be advanced copies of Devil's Kiss for sale and having been fortunate enough to read the book, I would recommend it highly.

If you're not able to make it, Devil's Kiss is out May 2009 UK and September 2009 US.

On a separate, but very important, note -

Newly signed SCBWI author Jon Mayhew (who has promised me an interview) is running the London Marathon on Sunday 26th April in aid of Help The Hospices.
You can read more about Jon and the cause, and donate here

Or you can go to Jon's blog at Writing In A Vacuum


Jon M said...

Tracy, you are an angel, thankyou so much for that heads-up. Oh and Sarwat's advice was good to cut out zombies and vampires...I've been trying to give them up for years!

Tracy said...

My pleasure Jon. Least I can do. Good luck. And for anyone looking in, please sponsor him, it's a worthy cause.

Welshcake said...

Thanks for these self editing posts, Tracy. I've enjoyed reading them and gleaned some useful tips.

Kate said...

No vampires or zombies? Wow, that's a breath of fresh air!
Great tips.

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