• NaPoWriMo Is Over! 5 Editing Tips From 2015!

    I envy you, Celestia. I like sleep. Source.

    Hello everyone, ABagOVicodin here. I cannot believe that November is already up. It feels like I laid down in my bed and all of a sudden, November passed me by. I'm sorry that I was unable to get the time to write up some tips for writing and editing. I'll copy my tips from last year which can hopefully help you with your editing phase.

    ANYWAY! NaPoWriMo is officially over! Or at least it should be for you. I want to congratulate everyone that has met their goal, and another congratulations for anyone who met the overall goal of 50k words! Now all of you wonderful writers, read after the break for submission instructions so that I can give out prizes and congratulate anyone who succeeded the goal. And a thank you from the bottom of my heart to anyone who took part.

    Final Submission Guidelines: You all have seven (7) days to send me the following to EQNaPoWriMo@Gmail.com. After December 8th, I will not add your final entry into the final post. Please email me if you have any questions.
    • Your author name
    • Your goal at the beginning of the month
    • Your total word count
    • The stories that you worked on (please make sure to let me know if you don't want me to show the stories in the final post), along with the Fimfic or Google Doc URLs.
    I will put together the final NaPoWriMo post and schedule it for December 15th, so please keep an eye out for that. I'll make sure to email every single person that emailed me and provide the link to the final post so that you all can bookmark or look through fanfics that others have written. Without further ado, let's go into some writing advice.


    Personal Editing Tips: I must provide a disclaimer for my own sanity that I am not obligated to answer any questions apart from what I post in here. The Editor's Omnibus is very extensive and will most likely answer all GSP (Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation) questions. However at the same time, writing and language is ever-changing so the number one rule I will start with is that if your story reads well, then you're on the right track.

    #1: Trimming Down That Word Count (Syntax Issues)
    Syntax is essentially how well your story flows. To build off of my first rule, I highly recommend you read your story aloud. It might seem embarrassing, but someone is going to do it. If they catch how clunky the writing feels before you, it can be more embarrassing than reading to yourself. Reading a story aloud can point out grammar problems, purple prose, and more. Along with that, it helps you make sure that everything works "mechanically". As in, the words are in order and the proper relationships between words makes sense. If you struggle to get through the sentence, there are probably too many commas or the sentence is too long. There can be a myriad of problems with syntax, which is why I recommend reading more into it. Look for repetition in both words and phrasing.

    #2: Point of View Problems (First, Second, Third Person. Limited, Omniscient)
    Keep in mind that every story can be told from any of these point of views, but it's easier to write some stories and ideas with one point of view than the other. For example, a story told from a diary is probably easier to tell in first person than third. Keep this in mind as you write. Here are the points of view:

    First person is the most obvious point of view and it's the one that is the easiest to use if you are writing from the point of view of the main character or you are self-inserting yourself as the main character.

    Example: I could feel the sweat dripping down my brow as I collapsed on the sidewalk. Pinkie Pie had been chasing me for hours, and I think I finally lost her.

    Second person is one of the hardest to pull off in prose, because it's reliant on keeping the reader's interest and putting the reader inside of the character you are writing. They don't have a choice (obviously) in what their character does. Think of it as a "choose your own adventure" book.

    Example: You feel the sweat dripping down your brow as you collapsed on the sidewalk. Pinkie Pie had been chasing you for hours, and you think you finally lost her.

    Third person is the easiest perspective to write since you can remove yourself as the narrator and dictate what the characters are doing. Imagine you are the puppet master that's slowly pushing the characters towards what happens to start with. Eventually, third person becomes natural.

    Example: Vicodin could feel the sweat dripping down his brow as he collapsed on the sidewalk. Pinkie Pie had been chasing him for hours, and he thought he finally lost her.
    Yes Pinkie is best horse. Want to fight about it?

    Limited is exactly what it sounds like. The point of view is limited to the character that you are focused on. That means that you (usually) can't break the point of view that is currently being written. Limited point of view expresses the character's thoughts as if it were their own. Using the first person example, there would be a problem if what Pinkie thought was written. The focus is on the one being chased. However, do keep in mind that you can switch point of view, but you need to be careful because you can confuse your readers.

    In third limited for example, you have to stay within the character that you are focused on. Your words and perspective need to sound like the character you are. If you are writing the story as Scootaloo, then you should stay away from flowery language for example. I see this sometimes with accents. While some writers like to have Applejack keep her accent, keep in mind if it might be harder to read because of the accent. Along with that, keep in mind what I said two weeks ago when it comes to writing the character as their stereotype (having Rarity say "darling" with each sentence as an example).

    Omniscient is the point of view that you use if you feel that a myriad of characters are going to have a role, both "bad" and "good". With omniscient, you have the ability to say what everyone is thinking. Omniscient stands for "all knowing", which reflects in the writing. These narrators attribute thoughts and opinions to the characters explicitly. Using the third person example, if the next sentence had Pinkie's thoughts and what she was going to do, that would be third person omniscient. Be careful with switching back and forth between characters, because it can get confusing or taxing for the reader, especially if it feels like all the characters are talking or doing without anything happening.

    #3 GSP Problems
    The general rule is to use Google whenever you feel like you are stuck, but do keep in mind of homophones, which won't be picked up by a spell checker. The common homophones and their meanings can be seen here. Common sentence grammar mistakes can be seen here. Common punctuation mistakes can be seen here, but I'll elaborate on dialogue since I had trouble with this for a while.

    If characters are talking and the sentence has a speech modifier (said, exclaimed, yelled, etc), then it should be worded like this: "I really like your face," said Vicodin. The comma is essential. However, if the dialogue ends in "!, ?, —, or ..." then no comma is needed. These symbols take the place of the comma.

    But if the character isn't doing anything "speech" related, then use a period. "I really like your face." Vicodin coughed and looked away.

    Here is an extra tip from Pascoite, one of our Equestria Daily Prereaders:

    "Two other things I see a lot are comma splices and misused semicolons. The semicolon is actually easy to explain. It has two uses:
    • to separate parts of a sentence that could stand independently. In other words, you should be able to replace the semicolon with a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete.
    • to separate items in a list when the items are rather long and complex or have their own internal commas.
    A comma splice is basically trying to have a comma perform function 1."

    #4 Em dashes and En Dashes
    I honestly hate these. You can go throughout your entire story without using them, and usually I try and structure my sentences so that I don't have to use them. This site provides a better explanation of them than I ever could.

    #5 Keep Practicing and Have Fun
    I could keep writing forever about what you should and shouldn't do, but the main thing I want you all to take from writing is that with practice and awareness of your own mistakes, you will get better. It is possible to not improve over time if you aren't aware of where you are having problems. My best suggestions would be to have multiple editors so that you know which ones are better at which things (content editors, syntax and mechanical editors, etc). Along with that, read older and newer stories to see how prose was written back then as well as now. We are in an age where it's harder to keep someone's attention, so perhaps you need to take a knife to some of your paragraphs to make it more appealing. There is such thing as having a "wrong" writing style.


    And that's all I have! Do you all have any tips for your fellow writers? Leave them in the comments! I'll see you guys in two weeks for the final NaPoWriMo post! Take care until then! ABagOVicodin out.

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