By: Sean Wesen '22
Are you an aspiring writer who needs some advice on how to fine tune your work? Or perhaps an experienced pro looking to pick up a few tips? Below we have collected a handful of tidbits that ought to help you revise your work into a masterpiece.
Revise Out Loud: Typos have a way of falling through the cracks of a heavily revised piece. The best way to root them out for good is to read your work aloud. This will help the typos to stand out.
Manage Writer's Block: Stuck? Jump 10 lines back! It helps to get a good perspective on where you are going and helps you find which sentences have left you at a dead end. If you are just beginning and looking at a blank page, then step away to go for a walk or shower. But no phones! This break should be spent opening yourself up to new ideas.
Start at the End: Writing a short story? Try to start it as close to the end as possible. You want to decide what the central conflict of your story is, and start the reader there. You don’t want to begin your reader at the start of the day while your protagonist is waking up, making coffee, driving to work, etc. If your story is about a character wrestling with the loss of a loved one, the story should start at the hospital bed. Whatever your conflict is, it should be evident from the first lines of your story. This will help to keep your story concise and interesting, and help you cut out all the unnecessary details.
Embrace Criticism: Receiving criticism can be a vulnerable experience, but in order for your work to shine you have to embrace it. Good critiques are not a comment on your character, just suggestions to help you perfect something you care about.
What Criticism to NOT Embrace: Receiving criticism is a balancing act. You should be receptive to the comments of others, but don’t be afraid to disagree with their ideas. At the end of the day, it is YOUR story, and not all criticism is constructive or valid.
Share With Everyone: While feedback from experts is great, you should also share your work with the people in your life who care about you. You need to be confident in your work to finish it and get it published, and that confidence can come from a well placed compliment from someone close to you.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are doing hard work. If everyone could be a writer then they would! So no matter how far you are in your project, or even if you are yet to start, be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself. You want writing to be a positive experience, and it will be if you let it. For regular updates on more articles, as well as current and future events, be sure to follow @RU_WritersHouse on Twitter, @Rutgers English on Facebook, and @ru_writershouse on Instagram.