Monday, May 19, 2008

The Ten-Point Revision Strategy - #5 End Chapter Earlier

This is probably my favorite item on our ten-point list, because it's so simple and can be so effective. End Chapter Earlier.

This is a tip I picked up from Robert Dugoni, best-selling author of The Jury Master and a fantastic writing teacher. If you ever get a chance to take a course from him, do it. He's extremely talented, very enthusiastic and an incredibly nice guy. You can learn more about him

End Chapter Earlier. We've all heard the axiom, "Start after the beginning and end before the end." While I find this to be a powerful truth for plotting the novel, I need to remember that this applies to each individual scene also. Often times, I find myself ending the chapters with what I think is an excellently written summary, detailing the heroes tension or fear, setting up for my big final sentence. It usually feels good when I'm writing it, but in revising, I've learned to cut it out.

Bob's advice was to go to each chapter and cut out the last paragraph. While that may sound frightening, especially after I've performed one of my beautiful summaries, he's right. It may not apply to every chapter, but more often than not, after I've gone through the chapter, I find that by simply cutting out that last paragraph, the scene ends better. More drama. More tension.

I encourage you to give it a try. Go to each chapter and cut out the last paragraph. Just do it. You can always put it back if it's not right for that scene, but try it. You just might find that it ends a little better.

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