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David A. Schwinghammer

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Books
· Soldier's Gap

· Soldier's Gap


Short Stories
· Mengele's Double, Chapter 9

· Seminary Boy, a memoir

· Fisher of Men, Chapter Nine

· Soldier's Gap, Chapter Three

· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Nine

· Fisher of Men, Chapter 8

· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Eight

· Mengele's Double, Chapter Eight

· Bereavement Blues

· Fisher of Men, Chapter 7


Articles
· Missoula, book review

· Another Shakespeare Doubter, book review

· Flights of Passage, book review

· The Lusitania, book review

· The Wilderness of Ruin, book review

· A Beautiful Mind, book review

· Another Planet, book review

· The Three Stooges, book review

· The God Particle

· Empire of Sin, book review


Poetry
· Fashion

· Widow's Peak

· Myth

· Alumni Game

· Stradivarius

· Snow-a-holic

· Girls Who Wear Glasses

· The Do Drop Inn

· Ode to Neve Campbell

· Jacks or Better 101

         More poetry...

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Blogs by David A. Schwinghammer

Revision
9/7/2009 9:11:25 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

How to fix your novel after a first draft.



Revision

When I started my first novel, I wrote ten pages a day in long hand, sometimes twenty. I was a teacher at the time and I was bent on getting my novel, RETREAT FROM THE CHRISTIAN JETS, done before school started. I thought I would need around five-hundred pages, and I would make a brief outline for the next day after I finished my ten pages. Most of the time I totally ignored my notes, but I don’t remember having a day when nothing came to me, probably because I was teaching “free writing” to my students at the time, which requires that you keep on going no matter how bad you think the day’s writing is going. Anyway, it worked. I finished in mid August. But I didn’t have time to type it, and I wouldn’t have known what to do to revise it anyway. After typing it, I sent it to Scott Meredith Literary agency, one of those agencies that charge to even consider you. I got a twenty-page scolding, although whoever reviewed it said that I was an “uncommonly talented writer.” I didn’t believe him/her. I didn’t try again until I retired from teaching, but when I did, I looked for a little help, going to workshops and writing conferences. I also joined Writer’s Digest Book Club where I found SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, by Renni Browne and Dave King (who later became my free-lance editor). Here are some helpful hints for when you finally get around to the revision process, some of which I got from Browne and King, some of which I came up with on my own.

1. You will spend 98% of your time revising. A first draft is comparatively easy, revision is a bitch, but it’s kind of fun sometimes because it’s your baby you’re working on. You’re trying to give him a good hair-do, a good complexion, and nice teeth as well as buy him fashionable clothes.

2. Add verisimilitude and change “be” (is, are, was, be, being, been, am) forms to action verbs whenever possible. Verisimilitude means make it sound like it could be true. Find out what kind of plants and trees grow around the setting you choose. Add active description. Do some research. You won’t need a lot. I used to belong to the Electronic College on the Internet. They charged like ten bucks a month for access to hundreds of newspapers and magazines. There’s also something called Lexus/Nexus that newspaper reporters rely on.

3. This is one writer’s process: First draft, get it down on paper; second draft, put in what you left out; third draft, take out what shouldn’t be there; fourth draft, make it sound like you just wrote it. Don’t fix spelling and grammar until you’re finished with content. You’ll only need to do it over again later to fix mistakes you made while revising. Get a fresh eye, though. We tend to read over our own mistakes. Copy editors charge like a buck a page, but at least your editors won’t throw your book away because you can’t spell and you make too many typos.

4. Show rather than tell wherever possible, even when you’re narrating rather than writing a scene. Vary the rhythm of your writing. For the same reason you must vary the length and structure of your sentences (Know the difference between simple, compound, and complex sentences. Know what gerund, participial, and infinitive phrases are. See the NEW OXFORD GUIDE TO WRITING, by Thomas S. Kane. It’s very good.

5. Put this where you can see it every time you sit down to write. RUE, resist the urge to explain. Explaining destroys tension and that’s what keeps people reading.

6. Eliminate dialogue that’s expository in nature. “I met your new boyfriend. He’s 6’4”, isn’t he? My husband is 6’4”.”

7. Avoid addressing another character too much. “Is that right, Tom?” People rarely address each other by name.

8. How smooth is your dialogue? Could you use more contractions, sentence fragments, run-on sentences?

9. Get rid of thinker attributions, “he thought.” Change them from first person to third, give them their own paragraph, convert them to a question, or italicize them. You don’t need, “he thought.”

10. Too many beats lesson the tension in a dramatic scene. “He blew his nose in the bed sheet” tells more than an entire page of narrative describing a character’s slovenliness. Instead of telling your reader so-and-so is a slob do the preceding.

11. Watch out for solid walls of gray. Look at your page after you finish a scene. Paragraphing more frequently can make your writing more engaging. Also avoid starting paragraphs with the same words in successive paragraphs.

12. Make sure you have enough white space to give your reader an occasional break. When you’re falling asleep, you need a place to stop before the end of the chapter.

13. Voice? Do your narrator and all of your characters sound alike? Narrators should be authoritative and smart if you’re using omniscient point of view.

14. Characters should be doing something in a scene, peeling potatoes, changing a flat tire. This is movement and it gives you a chance to use imagery. It also helps avoid talking heads.

Dave Schwinghammer's published novel, SOLDIER'S GAP, is available on Amazon.com.


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More Blogs by David A. Schwinghammer
• Our Bloodiest War - Tuesday, March 17, 2015
• Greedheads - Monday, September 29, 2014
• Worst President Since WWII? - Monday, July 07, 2014
• Tenure for Teachers - Thursday, June 26, 2014
• Koch Brothers Interfere in Local Election - Thursday, May 08, 2014
• The Wolly Mammoth - Wednesday, April 23, 2014
• Fran Tarkenton's political ad - Friday, March 14, 2014
• Propaganda vs. Legitimate Commentary - Sunday, February 23, 2014
• Porn as a Political Issue - Tuesday, February 18, 2014
• Drive a Stake Through the Vampires' Hearts! - Thursday, February 06, 2014
• State of the Union Stem-winder - Wednesday, January 29, 2014
• Ted Cruz - Tuesday, November 19, 2013
• Here We Go Again. - Thursday, September 19, 2013
• Reality TV - Friday, August 09, 2013
• Common Sense - Tuesday, July 30, 2013
• Skunks Believe Everybody Else Stinks - Thursday, May 16, 2013
• The Morning After Pill - Friday, April 12, 2013
• What Would Thomas Jefferson Say? - Saturday, April 06, 2013
• Boneheads - Tuesday, March 12, 2013
• Why Benedict XVI Resigned - Sunday, February 17, 2013
• Gabby Giffords Testifies - Wednesday, January 30, 2013
• Newspaper Caters to Gun Owners - Wednesday, January 23, 2013
• Piers Morgan Deserves a Medal - Monday, December 24, 2012
• The Red Devil and the Blue Devil? - Tuesday, October 30, 2012
• Is the new TV show, REVOLUTION, fantasy? - Wednesday, September 26, 2012
• Fanatical Moslems Aren't That Different From Our Fanatics - Wednesday, September 12, 2012
• We Need the United Nations - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
• Stop Catering to People's Basest Instincts - Monday, July 09, 2012
• Concerned Women for America political ad - Saturday, June 23, 2012
• Independent Voters Need to Pick a Side - Monday, June 11, 2012
• Romney's Solyndra Appearance - Friday, June 01, 2012
• Single Issue Voters - Sunday, May 20, 2012
• Bully or Sociopath? - Saturday, May 12, 2012
• Tan-orexic Woman Poor Role Model - Friday, May 04, 2012
• So Far Right They're Almost Left - Sunday, April 22, 2012
• Dog Eat Dog - Sunday, April 15, 2012
• The Tea Party is Back! - Sunday, March 25, 2012
• Gas Prices - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
• "Doofus" - Tuesday, March 06, 2012
• Bon Iver Front Man Makes Important Statement - Thursday, February 16, 2012
• Contraception Blowback - Friday, February 10, 2012
• 800 vetoes! - Saturday, February 04, 2012
• Issa Hounding Holder over GOP program - Thursday, February 02, 2012
• Rick Santelli's Rant - Wednesday, January 18, 2012
• Corporate Raider President? - Thursday, December 01, 2011
• Is This the Best They Can Do? - Thursday, November 17, 2011
• Tea Party a non-violent Movement? - Sunday, October 30, 2011
• Wall Street Protests - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
• Three new stooges - Thursday, August 25, 2011
• Hypocrite enters the race - Friday, August 19, 2011
• Business Leaders Need to Speak Out - Saturday, July 30, 2011
• Rupert Murdoch and GOP Credibility - Monday, July 25, 2011
• Playing on the railroad tracks - Sunday, July 17, 2011
• Scapegoating - Sunday, June 19, 2011
• The Biggest Swindle in US history - Friday, June 03, 2011
• We're Still Here! - Saturday, May 21, 2011
• Improve education by improving teacher morale - Wednesday, May 04, 2011
• Tea Partiers Don't Know What They're Talking About - Thursday, April 28, 2011
• General Electric paid no corporate taxes - Tuesday, April 05, 2011
• The Flat Earth Society is at it again! - Thursday, March 17, 2011
• Crap fest - Thursday, March 03, 2011
• Egyptian Revolution - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Tucson - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
• Would you want a right-winger for a neighbor? - Friday, January 07, 2011
• Noah's Ark Museum - Monday, December 06, 2010
• Frick and Frack Shoot Off Their Mouths - Friday, November 05, 2010
• Enthusiam Gap - Wednesday, October 27, 2010
• Super Computer - Tuesday, October 19, 2010
• US Chamber of Commerce, conservative front group. - Wednesday, October 13, 2010
• 13 Reasons to vote the straight democratic ticket - Wednesday, September 01, 2010
• Breitbart Makes Segretti look like a choirboy - Wednesday, July 28, 2010
• House on Fire? - Thursday, June 17, 2010
• The Blame Game - Friday, May 28, 2010
• National Prayer Day - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
• Conservative psyche (continued) - Friday, May 14, 2010
• Conservative psyche - Wednesday, May 12, 2010
• Are you smarter than a half-term governor? - Wednesday, April 14, 2010
• Rewriting History - Monday, April 05, 2010
• Fred Phelps - Friday, April 02, 2010
• Combing the Daily Newspaper - Wednesday, March 17, 2010
• Noir - Friday, November 06, 2009
• Interview with SOLDIER'S GAP author continued - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
• More from SOLDIER'S GAP author - Thursday, October 29, 2009
• SOLDIER'S GAP author answers questions. - Thursday, October 22, 2009
• Everything you always wanted to know about writing a novel - Tuesday, October 20, 2009
• Manuscript conventions - Thursday, September 10, 2009
•  Revision - Monday, September 07, 2009  
• Dialogue - Thursday, September 03, 2009
• Scene cards - Tuesday, September 01, 2009
• Point of view - Thursday, August 27, 2009
• Plot - Tuesday, August 25, 2009
• Arnie's dream - Friday, August 21, 2009
• Rituals - Thursday, August 20, 2009
• Dressing Arnie Vogel - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
• Character sketch continued - Friday, August 14, 2009
• Character sketch - Thursday, August 13, 2009
• Characterization - Wednesday, August 12, 2009
• Scene outline - Tuesday, August 11, 2009
• Warm-up activity - Freewriting - Monday, August 10, 2009
• Warm-up activity - brainstorming - Sunday, August 09, 2009
• Warm-up techniques (clustering) - Saturday, August 08, 2009


TOBOGGAN WAX by Hank LeGrand

TOBOGGAN WAX is a story about a young orphaned boy named, Eric. He goes to live with his uncle at his secluded mountain cabin. Snow lay on the ground almost year round up in the va..  
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