10 Important Things Writers Often Omit from Their Scenes

author and editor CS LakinIn my work as a professional freelance copyeditor and critiquer for publishers, literary agents, and authors in six continents, I wade through something like two hundred manuscripts a year. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I come across certain flaws repeatedly in many — if not most — of the manuscripts I examine. These issues are especially endemic to first novels, and when pointed out to the authors, they seem so obvious. They say, “Why didn’t I notice these problems?”

Because of lack of adequate writing experience, helpful critical feedback, and sufficient skill development and training, writers don’t realize they aren’t showing enough — and especially in a scene’s opening paragraphs — to help readers picture where a character is and when the scene is taking place in the story.

The challenge for writers is in determining how and how much to convey to readers what the writer is seeing in her own mind. Continue reading “10 Important Things Writers Often Omit from Their Scenes”