- Be sure the backstory enters the story at the time it’s essential to understand the plot, characters, or emotion. Not a minute too soon or too late. Sometimes backstory information has been added by you, the author, so that you can understand it. Cut it out and put it in a folder so that you can resurrect it, if you need it. If the reader doesn’t need to know it, cut it out.
- Choose one word to replace phrases. Choose phrases to replace clauses. Change prepositional phrases like teacher at Fairbanks School to Fairbanks School teacher to adjective noun. (Darcy Pattison and Joe Hight both mention this in their articles listed below.)
- Cut the adverbs. Replace them with strong verbs. (There are at least 20 sources that tell authors to do this.)
- Don’t interrupt dialogue too many times with unnecessary actions. Cut the facial expressions and body gestures, like grimacing her face, raising her eyebrows, lighting his cigarette. Let the bigger actions speak for the characters. Make sure these actions are not ordinary. They are actions only a character like yours would do. Let them move the plot, highlight the character, and/or add emotional tension. Dialogue that is interrupted too many times with unnecessary actions like these might make a reader put your book down forever. Highlight the words in your text that interrupt the dialogue.
- Rewrite the dialogue so it can be understood without tags of he said, she said.
As readers move from traditional hardbound books to digital books for the various e-readers available now and in the future, one thing hasn’t changed over the years, the reader’s expectations. They expect a level of quality when they spend their money to purchase a hard copy, or time downloading a digital book.
What readers expect:
- Characters they can empathize with
- Believable Dialogue
- Good editing
- Deep POV
- Tight writing
- Good word choice
- Proper use of nouns, verbs, and adjectives
- Proper grammar
- Proper punctuation
- Proper spelling
- Words that don’t send the reader to the dictionary
- A book that doesn’t bore the reader
This is only a short list, but you get the idea. Readers are author’s best friend or their worst enemy, the author makes the difference by the words in their story, how well the edited the manuscript is, and the author proofreads it before it reaches the reader.
Some may think this is a lot to ask, but consider the fact, the author’s reputation is on the line with every piece of writing they prepare for consumption by readers. This could be a blog about the book, a viral book tour, an author’s web site, a press release about their book or any piece of copy.