When I work with writers I am reminded of things I've learned over the years that help improve my work. We had our monthly Writers Who Mean Business meeting last night, and I thought some great "reminders" came out of it to spark this blog.
The Book's Opening Line: did you know some places hold contests asking for the best opening line of a book? In the 3L Publishing catalog Scott D. Roberts' book Vengeance is Now has the best opening line of the catalog: You've never really lived until you seen the life leave another human being.Your opening line should be that alluring, unique, fascinating and intriguing. The idea is that it be provocative enough to get the reader engaged and wanting to find out more.
Paring down your writing: too many writers fall in love with their own words. The love affair often results in wordiness and too much exposition. A great exercise is to write 1,000 words and then cut 100 words and then 200 words. See how much easier your work becomes to read.
Run-on sentences: the best way to look for descriptions and sentences that are one beat too many is to look for conjunctions. Also read your sentence aloud. Did you have to take a breath or two? Run-on sentences make people have to rethink what you just said vs. seamlessly read your work. If you want to create a great pace, the use of run-on sentences will have the opposite effect and bog down your prose.