It might seem obvious, but it’s worth pausing for a moment and asking yourself: what is your aim in writing your novel? What is your target audience? Most importantly, what do you want your readers to gain from reading your book?
You may wonder why it’s necessary to ask these questions. It’s simple, really: it helps you to decide what’s important. When I’m editing a novel and I’m asking myself whether a particular scene, character or passage needs to stay or could be cut or trimmed back, I always come back to that question: what is the author’s purpose? (And note: I don’t assume. I ask.) If the scene, character or passage doesn’t contribute in any way to that purpose, it can go. If you do the same with your own writing and self-editing, you might find it much easier to stay on track.
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About this blog
Through my experience as an editor, a reader and a book reviewer, I’ve noticed that some writing faults keep just popping up again and again. As an author, I’m especially aware of those writing crimes that I’m frequently tempted to commit myself. This series of brief tips addresses the common writing problems that I’ve encountered. Following them will help make your writing clear, accurate and stylish.