YouMakeMedia is here to help you along every step of your media creation journey, from pre-production through post-production (and beyond).
Here’s another simple tip to make your editing a little easier:
Print it out.
That’s right, print it out. Get a pen and mark up your document.
Editing onscreen is hard, and you’re likely to miss so much. When reading off of a screen, we read quite fast. We have to, because there’s so much information that we have to get through every day on the internet. If we read at a slower, more careful pace, we couldn’t possibly get through it all.
So when you go to proof your document, you might try to slow down, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to read slow enough and careful enough to catch all your mistakes.
Print it out, and make your edits with a red pen. You’ll find yourself catching so many more mistakes than you would have if you’d edited solely on your computer. Eyestrain won’t make you have to skim the document, and you’ll find yourself much more able to focus on individual words, instead of full sentences and phrases.
Sorry for the lack of updates over the last couple days. A few writing gigs came my way at the same time, so I’ve got a number of deadlines to meet. But I figured I could contribute here at the same time by giving a few writing tips while I’m, you know, writing.
I linked to some great rewriting advice a few days ago, but here’s a tip that works for me:
Start each draft in a blank document.
Especially the first rewrite. This is more easily applied to shorter works, like a screenplay, article, or short-story. It obviously might not scale if you’re writing a novel.
But if at all manageable, when you go to rewrite, don’t just make edits to your first draft. Take a fresh look at your structure, at every idea and sentence. Editing a draft will only make you catch the smaller mistakes or the odd poorly phrased idea.
When you start a new draft in a blank document you’re not starting over entirely. But it’s like your first draft was the rehearsal and now, after you’ve got everything planned out, you can perform it for the first time.
This also frees you creatively on your first draft. You don’t have to be overly concerned with your structure, you can just get all your ideas out without stifling yourself.
You can repeat this process for as many drafts as you like, but after the second one you’ll probably be comfortable with copying and pasting more and more from the previous draft. And that’s okay if you’re satisfied with those portions.
Now, back to work…
Rewriting is hard, but crucial. It’s often really difficult to part with things you love about your script/story/blog/etc even if it’s for the good of your work. So Justine Larbalestier has written a fantastic piece about how to rewrite. She gives some great, practical examples, including how even Snakes on a Plane could have been a better movie with a good rewrite.
Snakes on a plane spoiler alert:
“In one scene Mr Jackson has to go down into the snake-infested part of the plane to flick a switch and save the plane from crashing. But itâ€™s all too easy and he returns unscathed. Boring!
I would have introduced the snakes more gradually and would have had Samuel L. bitten by one with a slow-acting venom very early on to make the whole movie a bit more DOA. Can he save the whole plane and himself? Will there be an anti-venom waiting for him if the plane arrives?”
Alec Baldwin, In his article at the Huffington Post, offers a brilliant way to end the Writers’ Strike:
“I want the WGA to set up a website and on that website we can all post stories about every no-talent, idiotic, amoral producer and executive we have ever dealt with. Just like they do to us on shows like Extra and sites like TMZ (owned by Warner Brothers.) Set up a website and tell the entire world, via the internet, your own anecdote about some of the witless boobs you have endured in Hollywood and beyond. The strike will end in a week.”
His article skewers what he calls the “lawyers and marketing executives who lord over the worst creative decline [he has] witnessed in a long time.”
It’s well worth a read, to see a popular actor’s uninhibited take on the strike.
Last night I linked to Charlie Stross’s outrage over the Science Fiction Writers of America putting the guy responsible for their last “piracy” PR debacle in charge of their new anti-piracy committee.
“Burt’s copyright projects for SFWA have been controversial and divisive. He created a push-poll that attempted to convince the membership to stop Amazon from indexing their books; he created a non-working system for poisoning ebooks and ruining the download experience and then patented it, in his name, at the organization’s expense (he has promised to return the money); he helped create a loyalty oath in which members were told to swear to “respect patents and trademarks” and so on.”