A non-writing method

Feb 20 2019

It still takes some last effort. Variable according to the aspects of writing that are most important to you (because your writing is important to you, right? You want to write something that remains in the annals. You want your text to be polished to sparkle. You want readers to stop on the street – or fill in your Facebook comment page – and say: “I’ve never read anything so exciting / funny / interesting before”).

I always dedicate a rereading only to the dialogues. Because, even if maybe for you it is a little detail, I want them to be natural. That they are neither too long nor too short, that, hearing the character speak, the reader has the impression of being in front of him: a person in the flesh.

Plot details

Then, another rereading to correct the plot details, characters and setting that still need to be re-checked.

And another to verify that the Point of View is correct (read a few manuals, especially those from the Americans who care about these details, to understand what I’m talking about. Or, if you prefer, I’ll tell you about it in another article . Let yourself be heard if you want others to write or finish it here.) And another to tame the monstrous beast called Infodump (as above: read the manuals and find out).

And finally, the re-reading of the re-readings, one of the most important, must be dedicated to the style of narration. Here, things get more serious. If you can, print the text: at this stage, I find it better to fill the house with sheets of paper than to squint in front of the computer monitor. Put yourself in a quiet corner, where you are sure that nobody will disturb you. And read aloud. Have fun: interpret your characters, recite their lines with emphasis, but above all pay attention to the rhythm of your words. You have to find your music; and if there isn’t, you must force yourself to correct your text until it becomes melodious. Why, believe me: even the most hurried reader will be impressed by a story well written. Experience bold metaphors and similarities. Forcefully delete every cliché. Hunt for reps (my Achilles heel). There are those who advise us to eliminate with the hat useless adjectives and adverbs that end up in -ly, who to avoid the passive form of verbs like the plague. On this, I do not pronounce myself. Experience; see what you like best. Inevitably, some adverbs in – occasionally can also be there.

After that, rewrite, revise, rectify to your liking.

Don’t worry, we’re almost there! What rereading are we? The seventh, the eighth? I don’t remember anymore; I should re-read the article, while so far I’ve gone freewheeling (but I’ll reread don’t worry. Ten times for sure).

A couple of re-readings are missing. At least two, to pay attention to the most infinitesimal details: typing errors, verbal concordance, grammar and syntax (those must be studied in depth, I’m sorry. And there is little to enjoy). Be very careful at this point. I, who on these things are precise to the limits of the manic, I re-read everything every time I find errors and make changes, because you never know. If you are less stubborn than me, there may be only a few last quick revisions. The world won’t fall if a typo or two should remain (or at least I think so. The world always seems to be at risk of falling; if I were you, I wouldn’t want to contribute with my laziness in reviewing).


Easy, isn’t it?

With these articles, I have sent you more or less all the knowledge on how to write a story or a novel that I have accumulated over time. That could be valuable, or worth anything if you think differently from me, and you are a guy who prefers to have everything already established before you start writing.

For me it doesn’t work like this: I … er … how to say … first I write and then I think. Changing the order of the addends does not change the result.

More or less.

Or maybe not?

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