Revision Checklist Series One: Character
Revision Checklist Series Two: Plot
Revision Checklist Series Three: The Opening
Revision Checklist Series Four: Middles—Part One
Revision Checklist Series Four: Middles—Part Two
This is the final part in revising the middle of your novel.
Parts one and two introduce you to a few things you can do to help your middles, but a final thing you can do is add research.
Some writers do extensive research before starting a novel. I don’t, but I do research as I am drafting the novel when there are parts that call for it. For example, when I got to the part where I put my characters in Centralia, Pennsylvania, I had to do heavy research into Centralia, such as reading articles and watching videos. Some only do research after the draft has been written, which can really help with filling in plot holes and offering new insights into your plot that can deepen the novel.
I did write a post on doing research, so I’m going to summarize some resources you can use.
- Use a search engine to find what you are looking for.
- Watch videos on Youtube (or another video website) to help aide in your research.
- Check out books in your local library to help.
- If you can, experience what you want to know more about. For example, if you want your character to be an artist and you don’t know much about art, you can always visit an art museum while also reading books about art.
Probably one of the best research methods out there is to ask an expert. For example, if you want to write an asexual character but are not asexual yourself, conduct interviews with people who are asexual. In fact, I advise asking an expert with something you are not familiar with. This adds richness and authenticity to your story. However, you need to be careful of the types of questions you ask, so here’s a list of what you should do:
- Do your research beforehand so that way you know just what types of questions to ask.
- If you want to visit, for example, a police department, you need to schedule your visit ahead of time and make it clear you are simply doing research for a book you’re writing so they won’t think you’re some sort of reporter. You also need to establish a time frame for how long the interview will take.
- Use open-ended questions and specific ones. Open-ended questions allow your interviewee to really talk about the thing you want to know. But you must also make certain to ask priority questions before you leave. You cannot let your interviewee take a lot of time with one question, so prioritize your most important ones.
- Do not run over your established time frame. Otherwise, it’s bad manners.
- Sometimes you may need to follow-up with your interviewee. If this is the case, at the end of the interview you should ask if you may call him or her back to ensure you won’t waste this person’s time.
- Do your best to treat your interviewee like a friend. This person may actually become your friend; thus, the research becomes MUCH easier.
- Pay attention to the person themselves. Pay attention to body language, how they talk, what words they use, and especially to the surroundings you’re in. It’s important you are in a surrounding the interviewee is comfortable with.
Next post in the revision series will be on revising endings!