09 June 2015

Editorial tricks

As we put together the last issue of Electric Spec I couldn't help noticing I've picked up some editorial tricks, to make a story pop, over the last decade. I thought I'd pass some of them along to you...

Tricks to make your story stand out from the crowd:

  • Have minimal spelling and grammar mistakes. (Okay, I admit this isn't strictly a trick.) No one will read your story if they're distracted by errors. Use your software's spelling and grammar checker. Use your significant other. Use your persnickety retired-school-teacher aunt.
  • Create a unique title for your story. Your title is essentially the commercial for your story. When readers see it in a table of contents they should think "I need to read that!" After you finish your story, stop, pause, think. What is the essence of your story? Your title should reflect that. You might even have a great phrase already in your story you could use.
  • Put your power words at the end of your sentences. This gives the sentence more oomph! Related to this, put your dialogue tags in the middle of the sentences. Here's an example:
    • "I can't believe he's dead," the angel said.
    • versus "It can't believe it," the angel said. "He's dead."
    The second version is more dramatic, isn't it?
  • Make use of white space on the page. Putting more white space around a sentence makes it stand out more. In other words, start a new paragraph--even if you don't have to--to emphasize something. This can be especially effective at the end of the story.
Good luck!

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