Dawn Field (July 20, 1969 – May 2, 2020)
In late 2015, Dawn Field submitted her first post to the BookBaby Blog, titled “Eleven Ways To Take A New Look At Your Story.” While many unsolicited submissions don’t quite meet the needs (or standards) of our readers, something about Dawn’s writing stood out. I posted the article, and to my grateful amazement that initial contribution flourished into a five-year collaboration resulting in over 100 posts published here. Sadly, on May 2nd, 2020, a voice that was an inspiration to so many of us in the self-publishing community was lost when Dr. Field suddenly and tragically passed away at the age of 50. Over the past few months, we’ve continued to publish the pieces Dr. Field had submitted (she was always months ahead of schedule) in honor of her commitment to teaching and the craft of writing. And while it grieves me to note that this is the last post of Dawn’s we’ll ever publish, it is fitting and poetic that her final contribution is a companion piece to the first.
The process of developing and polishing a complete draft should be one of the most creative times in a project. This is your final chance to hone your story based on the best of your ideas. You are refining your style based on your structure — which is based on the substance of your story. Here are “Eleven Ways To Take A New Look At Your Story,” and here is part two!
Eleven more ways to push your story over the finish line
Sometimes you just need to step back from a draft and consider it as a whole. You can also look at specific parts to see if anything can be further developed.
Ask what your cast thinks
Your story has characters. How often do you think of them as a group? What if you collected them all in a room, post-story, and asked each one how everything played out? What does each have to tell you about how things went down? How is each changed from the beginning of the story?
Read out your white spaces
Read out the narrative of your white spaces between your chapters. Silence matters – often much more than action. White space gives readers a chance to take a breath. More importantly, it triggers them to summarize. What is said in each break? This is how you highlight what’s most important.
Revisit your book synopsis
Compare your book synopsis to your text, or write one if you haven’t yet. How balanced, well-structured, compelling, and complete is your draft? Check for holes or any stretches with too little or too much content. Is your start stronger than your ending? Is your middle holding up? Is the ending the best it can be? Is it all hanging together?