‘Dictionary counts “then” as a subordinating conjunction itself, so it can be used without “and” to form a dependent clause.’
This is one of the 619 (!) comments which the lovely Misti from RedAdept gave me on ASCENSION POINT. Over the course of our hour-and-forty-five-minute chat yesterday–now that’s value for money!–I got the most concentrated lesson in grammar that I’ve ever had, as well as a ton of other excellent feedback. Phenomenal.
I’m still processing everything, but here are some snippets:
- I really like using dashes. Like, all the time. Even when I should be using ellipses, or colons, or periods.
- I’m far too busy and important to spell words consistently. See: light-year, lightyear, light year.
- I’m generally good at POV! Yay for me! But not so good at maintaining a single POV in scenes with several of my POV characters: it sometimes gets a bit muddled.
- Authorial intrusion FTW. Or: I’m not always great at keeping the narrative sections of a scene in keeping with the POV character’s voice. A key lesson.
- Scene transitions need some work. Too often it takes a few paragraphs before it becomes clear to the reader where the story is, and who the POV character is. Or as Misti put it, “Who? What? Where?” 🙂
- Dashes vs. ellipses. Phrases vs. clauses. Independent clauses vs. dependent clauses. Commas with modifiers. Commas with conjunctions. Phew!
- Unnecessary verbiage, e.g. ‘Emitting a yowl.’ Yowl is already a verb, Dan. Tut tut.
- Pacing needs some work. More shorter sentences in dramatic sections to build tension, keep the longer ones for more mellow stretches to diffuse it.
- And last, my personal favourite. I’ll let Misti’s example show this one: “His eyes followed them.”
- Interpretation #1: He watched them, following them with his gaze.
- Interpretation #2: His eyeballs popped out of his skull and trailed after them while he did something else.
Ahem… Yeah, the first one.
As I skimmed the edited doc I was pleased to see fewer and fewer comments in later chapters. No surprise, the first chapter, or 4% of the book, has 15% of the comments! Good to get confirmation from a professional that my writing really did improve as the book progressed.
I’ll probably post some more editing bits and pieces in the coming week or two as I beaver away at the changes. Having addressed the 92 comments in chapter one, I can already tell that enlisting a professional editor was absolutely money well spent.
But we already knew that, didn’t we?