12 Baby Steps to a Complete Story: Second Draft + Nit-Picky Critique

A Pen In Each Hand

So you have an idea, but you don’t know where to start… and the end seems so far away it might as well be on Pluto. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the 12 Baby-Steps to a Complete Story and you’ll be on your way. Each month, we’ll post a new exercise. Do each month’s exercise and by the end of the year, you’ll have a polished story (or personal essay, if you prefer non-fiction) ready to submit!

The time-line here is designed for a short piece of writing, not a book, but if you’d like to do it with a novel idea, you’re welcome to. If you’d just like to do the exercises as practice, and use different pieces for each exercise, that’s fine too. Adapt the exercises any way you like. There are no rules, just ideas.

Background Image: Chad Norman (CC-by-nc-sa)

August: Second Draft + Nit-Picky Critique
Exercise #8

Re-write your story (or chapter), incorporating the changes you’ve outlined in your plan. Concentrate on the finer points this time – choosing the right word, eliminating cliches, smoothing out transitions.

When you finish, print a copy and read it aloud. As you read, note if anything looks or sounds awkward. Make changes if necessary, then post and ask for NIT-PICKY feedback on it: Are there any grammatical errors? Have I used the same adjective too many times? Do I use names where he or she would sound better? Does my dialogue sound natural? Are there any continuity errors? etc.

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