Friday, March 07, 2008

Today's Lesson

Pay attention to the little things.

Laura finished the beta of MythOS last night and really liked it. But we got to discussing whether it ended on a note that was a touch too dark. So I went back and reread the last 1,000 or so words.

As I was going over the final four or five paragraphs I realized that with a change of just three sentences I could shift the emphasis from the down notes and cost side of the wrap-up events to the up notes and the most important victory. I changed part of one paragraph, less than 25 words and it completely reframed the ending in a way that just lit the whole thing up. The events were identical, but two words of dialog got changed and a bittersweet tear became a bittersweet smile. And that made all kinds of difference. I won't say more because it would be a serious spoiler, but always remember the little things matter.

4 comments:

Mari Adkins said...

Thanks Kelly!

Kimberly Frost said...

You're so right about how a little change can make a big difference. It's a good reminder. :)

Kelly McCullough said...

Yeah, it's apparently a reminder I was in need of. 25 words and bang, the mood shifts dramatically and it sets the ball for the last line's spike. The macro and the micro in writing is so interconnected.

Kelly Swails said...

Seriously. It never fails to amaze me how two words can change a paragraph and a sentence can change a whole story. For me, it's helpful to remember that when I'm on a "This is horrible and the whole thing needs changed" tangent; more likely than not when I go back and edit I'll see that all I need to do is change this word here and fix the tone of this part by taking out a sentence ...