Today’s Writing Tip


I don’t know about you, but my first drafts tend to be unbalanced. This, of course, depends on your natural style. There may have too much or too little of certain elements. My first drafts tend to be heavy on action and dialog. I’ve often envied screenwriters, who can do just that and let producers and directors worry about the rest.

However, for your story to be the best it can be, it needs to incorporate more. Don’t interrupt the creative flow by worrying about it during your first draft. For your second draft, however, one way to assess what you have is by checking how your IDEAS are presented.

As you’ve probably guessed, that’s an acronym for: Imagery; Dialog; Emotion; Action; Suspense.

Read each scene and check to make sure it has some of each. Imagery could have been established earlier, which is fine. Not every scene will have dialog, and that is fine, too. However, too much description or exposition gets boring, so if that’s the case see if you can convert any of it into a conversation. Emotion is essential. If there’s no feeling behind it, is it even necessary? Action goes without saying, even if it’s mental action, and of course suspense, without which your reader may not bother to turn the page.

Today’s Writing Tip

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First drafts tend to be unbalanced, depending on your style. They may have too much or too little of certain elements. For example, many authors, myself included, tend to focus on action and dialog. These are great for keeping a story moving, but the reader isn’t likely to “see” the story in their head or feel much empathy for the characters.

To remedy this, for your second draft, start by checking how your IDEAS are presented, where IDEAS is an acronym for Imagery; Dialog; Emotion; Action; Suspense. Examine each scene to determine if you need to add something to round it out. You don’t want to slow down heavy action with too much detail, but get enough in there so the reader can visualize it. Setting up the location beforehand is one way to handle that, so the reader already has a mental image for the action to occur.