Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for eXamples of good writing: In my humble opinion anyway


So I did a self-editing Revision Checklist on my blog April 20th. It was in no way comprehensive and I’m sure things could be added to the list, but it gives you a basic idea of key elements you need to be considering when revising your novel, novella or short story.

Today, X is for eXamples ... okay, so it’s not really an X word but there aren’t many of them and I had no idea how to relate the word Xylophone to writing ;)

I’m going to apply eXamples of what I think is good writing to the Revision Checklist:

1) Characters – I recently finished reading the book ‘Annabel’ by Kathleen Winters. This book was nominated for the Canadian Scotiabank Giller Prize and I can see why. It was a coming of age novel and had a lot of good character development in it, not just by the main character, but also supporting characters. The author made the reader care about the characters by her use of inner conflict, flawed natures, sympathetic circumstances, dreams and ambitions and growth. The characters seemed like actual people I was reading about more than fictional beings created from someone’s imagination.

2) Plot/Structure – Okay, I know it’s overdone, but ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins is the most recent novel I’ve read that has a really good plot. I also loved the way she organized the book into three parts with nine chapters in each part; it gave the reader a good sense of how the story would be framed and structured. The novel was a page turner in my opinion which suggests that there was a lot of good tension and conflict.

3) Tone – ‘The Distant Hours’ by Kate Morton was really good when it came to this. Though I thought the book was too long, the author did a good job of keeping a consistent tone/mood throughout the novel. It had a very dark, suspenseful and gothic feel to it.

4) Voice – I haven’t read a lot of his books but I think Christopher Moore does this well. He’s a humorous writer and when I pick up a piece of his writing I know he’s the one telling the story and nobody else. One of his older books, ‘Lamb,’ is still on my reading list.

5) Dialogue - ‘Blue’ by Lou Aronica was fairly good when it came to this. It’s an e-book (not sure if it’s only available on Kindle), about a divorced couple with an only child. I particularly liked the dialogue between father and daughter, and ex-husband and ex-wife. The way they spoke to each other was believable and really gave some insight into the hearts of the characters.

6) Pace - I’m going to say ‘A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin for this one. The book was really long, and I admit I haven’t read the others in the series just because of the time commitment (not that I don’t plan to). The pace was bang on in my opinion however. Unlike ‘The Distant Hours’ which tended to drag at parts, ‘A Game of Thrones’ kept a steady pace, sped up where it needed to, slowed down in other places that were appropriate. I never felt that the author was zipping by things I needed to know, and I never found any parts tedious and wished he would speed up.

Only 2 more days of the A-Z Challenge left. It’s been fun, and I’m happy I’ve gotten the chance to network with more writers because of it!


  1. Happy to network with you. And I'm SO glad too, just two more days left. Phew!

  2. I like your suggestions and I'll look for a few of the. I can't believe april is almost gone. Wow!

    From Diary of a Writer in Progress