SUBLIMINAL MONDAY: Recipe for a Great Story

I got my editorial letter and line edits from AA on Draft #3. Have I mentioned she's brilliant? [No less than a million times.] Well, here's why. According to her letter, the things I need to pay special attention to heading into Draft #4 are:

1) Tension - More!

2) Believability - Keep it real - bring reader into mc's thoughts.

3) Dialogue - Less dialogue, more narrative.

4) Active Voice - Stay in the moment. Passive voice is a turn-off.

Hmm, sounds like a recipe for a great story!

It's the drive that keeps the readers turning the pages. What are the conflicts? How will they be resolved? Will they be resolved? What are other challenges facing the main characters? Romance. Angst. Jealousy. Conflict. TENSION. [His rippled muscles made her feel safe, even as his ex gave her the evil eye.]

This is a biggie in any form of writing, and especially in fantasy and paranormal. Do the rules make sense? Are they clear? Consistent? Are the characters acting in ways that are in line with their powers and backgrounds? ARE THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES BELIEVABLE? [Vampires wear only blue clothes, crawl on all fours and survive on chips and salsa, right? If that's how it is in your story, MAKE US BELIEVE IT!]

Do your characters speak like they should? Is the dialogue age-appropriate? Do they have a southern twang? Do you have too much or too little dialogue in your story? Does the dialogue reveal plot points or character traits/flaws? Is the dialogue consistent with how the characters would truly speak? DOES YOUR DIALOGUE SERVE A DISTINCT PURPOSE AND MOVE YOUR STORY FORWARD? [If not, put your fingers in the shape of an "L" and raise them to your forehead.]

Are your characters using passive rather than active voices? Do you use words such as "was" "had" "were" "been" too much? Put your characters in the present. USE ACTIVE VOICE TO MAKE THEM COME ALIVE. [I AM drinking a sweet, chocolate shake and WILL continue doing so all the days of my life!]

I finished reading, "hush, hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick last night and loved it. [Go buy it. NOW!] Afterward, I read through AA's edits in my ms and realized something: my book may be a whole lot more powerful in 1st person POV. [Just shoot me now. I'll buy the bullets.] It's currently in 3rd person POV, so that's a whole lot of work. I also remembered something AA said to me a while back, "You might want to try writing the book over now that you know the story, and see what happens." [Yeah, right, and maybe I'll join the Tea Party and campaign for Sarah Palin in 2012.]

So, guess what I'm doing? Rewriting my book in 1st person POV. Apparently, my mom is right, I'm a glutton for punishment. [She also thinks I'm "all that," but every parent is slightly delusional.] I promise to keep you posted on this exciting [tedious, heart-wrenching, nutso] endeavor. It may be nothing more than an exercise [in futility], but I'm giving it a whirl. Wish me luck! [Good luck, crazy person.]

So, tell me, have you changed your manuscript's POV or rewritten an entire ms? If so, how did it go? Do you have trouble with tension, believability, dialogue, or active voice? What are things you do to overcome these potential pitfalls?
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