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How to Fix Bad Writing

A first draft of a novel is never perfect. A first draft of anything you've written is never perfect. We all know that. If you're a serious writer who's been looking through writing websites and generally spending your time reading about writing, well, you're like the rest of us.

Someday, you are going to look back at what you have written, may it be to edit, to remind yourself of how much you've improved, or just to laugh at your writing.

So here's my advice.

If it makes you cringe, do something about it. 

I'm writing a fantasy novel about seven dragons with elemental powers who are trying to bring back flight to a world where dragons cannot fly. As my fingers flew across the keyboard, typing out the words, I came to a scene where one of my main characters has to ask a friend for help. In reply, the friend begins rambling on and on about why she can't help him, but at the end of the chapter, she agrees to help.

When I looked back at that particular scene to begin editing it, something was poking at me in the back of my mind. My inner critic was at it again. Trust me: your inner critic is almost always right. Finally, I came to a conclusion. The scene was poorly written and completely unnecessary to the story.

So, when you come across a scene your inner critic doesn't like, don't leave it as it is. If you are as attached to your novel as I am, your inner critic will keep banging on the walls of your brain. However, all is not lost. 

You have two choices:

1. Fix the scene.

2. Cut the scene.

Fixing the Scene

There's always a chance your scene isn't as bad as you think it is. In that case, lucky you! All you have to do now is tweak your scene and make it the best it can possibly be. If you're not sure if your scene is good enough, check with someone you know. Ask a friend to read it and tell you what they think (although you may have to shove your entire novel in their hands 😄).

Cutting the Scene

This is your last resort, after much argument with your inner critic. You've finally decided: I can't fix this. You've concluded there is no point in keeping the scene any longer. The only way to fix your novel is to delete the scene. If the scene really is unnecessary, deleting it is the best option. Your novel will be better without it. 

Happy writing and God bless,


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