Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MORE on Revising


I think some readers found the last post on revising to be helpful. So, here goes some more.

This is a before and after excerpt from that same novel. Book 2 of my planned 3 book series. As before, I'll put my thinking in red.

This particular bit of writing (the before bit) definitely didn't read true to the twelve year old character, Sebbie. I used the language of an adult...me. I also had things out of order.

You'll see...

THE BEFORE excerpt:

Movement came from behind the shed and a teenage girl slowly, apprehensively emerged - shoulders down, head down and dressed in all black. Black pants and a thigh-length black coat covered her five-foot-five slim frame. She looked to be in high school and had pearly white skin. Sebbie thought she looked completely emo or goth.

He couldn’t tell what her face looked like yet because her long, straight, black hair hung down blocking his view. Inside, he really hoped she didn’t have a scary face; he was already freaked-out enough.

She now stood a mere five feet from him and she raised her head as if she had something to say but instead she simply stared at him. There was no malice in her stare or he’d of probably run all the way home. She had very dark, very sad eyes, eyes that looked as if they’d seen their share of heartbreak. Thankfully her face wasn’t monster-like it was rather attractive with small, almost dainty features. Sebbie decided to break the stare.

“Did you hear me? I said I know she’s really a…”

The girl with the sad face interrupted in an oh-so-soft voice, “I heard you.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” Sebbie didn’t know a single person who talked as softly as she just did. “I didn’t hear you.”

She repeated herself in the same exact volume, “I heard you.”

Both times, when she spoke, she broke her stare and looked down at her feet, as if she were embarrassed to communicate with him.

MY OBSERVATIONS:
- A 6th grade boy wouldn't use the word 'apprehensively' or 'emerged' or describe someone using 'slim frame' or 'dainty features' - nope - no way.
- How would he know she had white skin when he hadn't seen her face yet?
- How would a twelve year old kid know when a person's eyes showed 'their share of heartbreak'?????

- I broke POV when I wrote: She repeated herself in the same exact volume, "I hear you." - Sebbie would never use the word 'malice' either. Too sophisticated for him.
- The words emo and goth aren't even used now with kids.

THE AFTER excerpt:

Movement came from behind the shed and a teenage girl slowly came out. She looked scared and kept looking from side to side. Her head and shoulders were hunched down like she was afraid to stand up straight or something. He couldn’t tell what her face looked like yet because her long, straight, black hair hung down blocking his view. Inside, he really hoped she didn’t have a scary face; he was already freaked out.

She wore all black – black pants, black coat, black gloves, black boots. Sebbie liked her combat boots. She definitely looked like a high school kid.

She now stood a mere five feet from him, and she raised her head and just stared at him. His stomach flipped as he exhaled. There was no wickedness in her stare or he’d of probably bolted. She had pearly white skin and big dark eyes. She had very dark, very sad eyes. He thought she was pretty though. Sebbie decided to break the stare.

“Did you hear me? I said I know she’s really a -”

She interrupted him in a really soft voice, “I heard you.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” Sebbie didn’t know anyone who talked as softly as she just did. It wasn’t a whisper or anything, it was just the tiniest little voice. “I didn’t hear you.”

She repeated in the same exact volume, “I heard you.”

Both times, when she talked, she broke her stare and looked down at her feet. It was like she was embarrassed to talk to him.

MY OBSERVATIONS:- Now the moment comes from Sebbie's POV.
- And more importantly, the scene now comes from Sebbie's VOICE. Can you tell?

- I fixed the timing of him seeing her face.
- Overall, it's shorter and tighter writing. IMHO.

What you you think? Was this helpful?