Charles Web Journal

My blog is intended to show how I construct and write a historical novel. It will be a journal of my daily writing activity, as I write a new historical novel.

Location: Evansburg, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired school teacher with a B. Ed in English literature a B.A. in History. After a long career as a teacher of English and history, I now write historical novels based on Canadian history.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rewriting and revising

I’m back at working on my latest novel. I finished the first draft early in August so I’ve let it set, so to speak, for a couple months. Now I’m checking it for spelling and grammar and a few of the other test that I make on my writing before I turn to the structure of plot, characterization, basic conflicts, and effectiveness of the writing.

I use the spellchecker in Word, but I don’t depend on it entirely as I know that it’s not reliable. Although it catches many typos and misspellings, it does not locate words that are spelled correctly but inappropriately used. That takes careful reading.

Then I go over the work for the use of “had” and particularly passive sentences. I try to avoid them, the past pluperfect and the use of the verb “to be” as it usually indicates a passive sentence. I find that the simple past give the writing more immediacy.

That’s the simple part of rewriting. The difficult work is searching the plot for poor action and definition. Another stumbling block is characterization. Do the characters act consistently? Are they well delineated so that they are human with all the foibles and idiosyncrasies of real people?

Are their actions in harmony with their nature and personality? Although I do an in depth character sketch of each individual before I start writing the story, I still check to see that they conform to that.

Today was the start of a long and meticulous scrutiny of the first draft.


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