To put it quite simply, editing is boring. And slow. And mind numbing. And frustrating. And long. Here’s a checklist to make it a little bit easier.
Write It. Then Don’t Touch It: Finish the scene, story, novel, paragraph, vignette, prompt, or chapter, then stop. Take a step away from your computer (or notebook. Hardcore) and leave it alone. There’s no hard and fast rule for how long, but the idea is to literally forget as much of what you just wrote as possible. The more you read the same thing over and over, the more your brain skips over what you think you already know, and that means you will forget things. Lots of things. So leave it alone.
Spell-check: This should be the most obvious thing in the world, but if you haven’t, run the whole thing through a spellchecker. You may have turned it off so you don’t see red lines under things you know are spelled correctly. Yes, thank you spell-check, I understand that my made up fantasy names seem to trigger something in you, but tone down the enthusiasm.
Run it through again anyway. See red, squiggly line? Fix it. Run it through a grammar checker. Still see lines? Fix it. Then get Microsoft Word or something with a built in spell-check. Seriously.
Focus on one thing at a time: Focus on dialogue on the first run through, then do description next, punctuation after that, etc. Pick one thing to focus on for each pass so you don’t get distracted or confused. Create your own checklist of things to keep an eye out for and do a run through every once and a while.
Check for repetitiveness: Make sure your sentences and paragraphs don’t start with the same word/letter. If you can say the same thing in less words, do it. If the character says something twice in a row, cut it out. If two sentences in a row starts with the same letter, adjust it. Same with paragraphs. Vary sentence and paragraph length, as well. Occasionally, you’ll have dialogue or description that naturally falls this way, this is fine, just don’t make a habit of it, and be aware of it.
Watch your dialogue tags: How many times has your character ‘laughed’ or 'sighed’ or 'smiled’ in this chapter? This leans into the repetitiveness we talked about above. Use new words. Get them to do new things. Don’t just add for the sake of adding, but adjust accordingly.
Change how you read it: As stated above, the more you read your story, the less you see of it. Change the font size, or the font itself. Print the story out on paper (not really applicable for novels). Change the color of the font in your favorite word processor and mark problems in red, good passages in blue, things that need to stay in green, etc.
Keep notes as you write: This doesn’t help unless you’ve done it before you’ve started editing, but it’s helpful during edits. Keep track of everything. Add them everywhere. “Sarah has green eyes.” “John doesn’t like peas”. “Need to figure out a name for a town” “Need name for background character #7”, etc. That way you can write without needing to stop at every little question, and you can go back to make sure you stay consistent and Sarah doesn’t change eye color mid story.
Make your description match your scenes: Action scenes don’t need big words and flowing prose. Make it quick, concise, and urgent. Romance scenes and historical novels can take more description. Add all five senses. Describe more. Describe less. Make it work for what you’re writing. Give them different voices for dialogue. Make then all sound different and have distinctive tones.
Put the story away and wait.
Fix all major spelling and punctuation problems.
Clean up the format (not majorly, just paragraph and sentence length and dialogue).
Go over notes. Adjust accordingly. Make more notes.
Make sure you have a good opening line.
Make us love (or hate) the characters accordingly.
Start close enough to the good stuff so it’s interesting, but not confusing.
Make your description match your scenes.
Make your dialogue match your characters.
Create conflict. Once you think you have enough, create more.
Cut out any and all dead spaces in your novel. Be brutal. Characters, dialogue, whole chapters. If it doesn’t fit, or make the story go forward in terms of plot, cut it. Don’t delete it though, create a document and save all your bits and pieces.. They could go in something else or spark some more ideas.
Make sure there’s enough to keep the reader engaged.
Fix all plot holes and add in back story.
Add in foreshadowing.
Make sure the story arc makes sense and ends with a satisfying climax.
Now that you’ve done all that, you’re ready for peer feedback! Find a good writing workshop, either in person or online, and post your newly edited story. You’ll get even more help and feedback and it will help polish up any and every part of your story. Plus you’ll get insight and ideas you’ve never even thought of.
🌙 Figure out your intent or goal and what corresponding planets, stars, constellations, etc are to your intent/goal. You may also use herbs, crystals, essential oils, etc along with the celestial bodies of your choice. Choose which ones you think or what your gut thinks is best for you. If your gut says you don’t need that, then don’t use it.
🌙 Get in a comfortable position. Normally sitting criss-cross or laying on your back. Surround yourself with the herbs,essential oils, or crystals of your choice.
🌙 Close your eyes and take deep breaths in and out. Try your best to clear your mind.
🌙 Now for visualization, a large hole in the ceiling appeared or the entire ceiling is gone. Your celestial body(bodies) glide over the open hole or ceiling. If you chose more than one CBs, they can glide over in one at a time, in small clusters or one large cluster. Imagine that the CB(s) stop directly over you and that they start to send down their energy in a beam of light. Now, your body starts to fill up with light near the third eye chakra (in between the eyebrows) and the crown chakra (the top of the head) then from those chakras, energy starts flowing through your body, making your entire body glow brighter and brighter over time. While all of this is happening, thank the CBs for their energy,
🌙 This next step of visualization is imagining what would happen after your goal. What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like, emotionally and/or physically? What would it smell like? You can think of any smell that fills your intent. What would it taste like? You can think of any flavor that fills your intent. After you’ve visualized all of your gaols’s five senses, you can stop meditation.
The great thing about the Last Five Years is they are both equally to blame. You can’t say the relationship failed because of one more than the other.
Me on the outside:
Oh, yeah, totally!
Me on the inside:
I don’t know maybe it was the one who was cheating and trying to force his wife to go to parties she hated going to. Maybe it’s the one who kept neglecting and ignoring his wife to go to these parties. And really he was going to so many parties like all people did was stand around and talk would you not get bored eventually? Can he really not skip a couple parties?
…I mean Cathy was unsupportive….
Me on the outside:
Me on the inside:
I don’t know where you are seeing this other than not wanting to be dragged to parties and wanting her own success which are two reasonable wants. I mean she went to those parties for a very long time and was ignored. Also there was a point where she didn’t want him not to go to parties, just to parties without dragging her along. And she went to his book talks and all those kinds of things so I’m confused where we’re seeing all this lack of support that was apparently just as damaging as neglect and cheating.
Beauty is undefinable in language. It’s something that you see when you see it, or you feel when you feel it, or you hear when you hear it. It usually encompasses all five of the senses. It can’t exist without it being a somehow sensorial experience. But, I don’t think it’s quantifiable. Nothing is really quantifiable. Nothing is certain in love and friendship. We all try to understand these things.
Happy 41st Birthday, Colin James Farrell!(May 31, 1976)♥
Havdalah spice container, Germany, late 19th Century.
During Havdalah, a Jewish religious service commemorating the end of Shabbat, the use of all five senses is intended—tasting the wine, smelling the spices, seeing the flame of the candle and feeling its heat, and hearing the blessings. Fragrant cloves, cinnamon, or myrtle leaves are held in artistically decorative spice containers with elaborate metalwork, usually made of tin and silver, and often in the form of towers stylistically influenced by local architecture.
Having hallucinations is not glamorous. They are not fun. It is not “like being on free shrooms all day”. They can be terrifying. They can make it feel as though the world is ending. Having all five sense hallucinations is not greater or worse than having only one or two. Each experience is different. Reality is subjective. Yours does not equal theirs.
ER doctors have told me they can’t help because I did it to myself. I had been listening to voices for weeks telling me to burn deeper until I had fourth degree burns that eventually became necrotic.
A psychiatrist at an institution told me he would not refer to me as my chosen name because I was simply delusional, not nonbinary.
A psychiatrist asked me if she could publish a study she wrote on me with a different name to protect my privacy because she had never come across a case like mine.
I have had two separate doctors break into tears while talking to me about my hallucinations, one asking how I even continue.
So please. If you think anxiety or borderline personality disorder are trendy or cute, if you think those with bipolar or Schizoaffective disorder are dangerous, those with major depressive disorder are seeking attention then you have never dealt with any of them. Even qualified physicians have difficulty handling cases because of how specialized each person is. My story is not everyone’s, but I believe everyone has the right to be listened to and treated kindly.
Don’t treat people you don’t know with disrespect because of how you perceive them to be and not who they actually are. Appearances are often deceiving.
Romantic chemistry is all about warm, gooey feelings that gush from the deepest depths of the heart…right? Not quite. Actually, the real boss behind attraction is your brain, which runs through a very quick, very complex series of calculations when assessing a potential partner.
We know. The idea of so much of our attraction being influenced by chemicals and evolutionary biology can seem cold and scientific rather than romantic. But the next time you see someone you like, try to appreciate how your entire body is playing matchmaker to decide if that beautiful stranger is right for you.
After all, just because the calculations are happening in your brain doesn’t mean those warm, fuzzy feelings are all in your head. In fact, all five of your senses play a role, each able to vote for (or veto) a budding attraction.
The eyes are the first components in attraction. Many visual beauty standards vary between cultures and eras, but signs of youth, fertility and good health, such as long lustrous hair, or smooth, scar-free skin are almost always in demand because they’re associated with reproductive fitness.
The nose’s contribution to romance is more than noticing perfume or cologne. It’s able to pick up on natural chemical signals known as pheromones. These not only convey important physical or genetic information about their source but are able to activate a physiological or behavioral response in the recipient.
Our ears also determine attraction. Studies have shown that heterosexual men prefer females with high-pitched, breathy voices and wide formant spacing, correlated with smaller body size, while heterosexual women prefer low-pitched voices with a narrow formant spacing that suggest a larger body size.
And not surprisingly, touch turns out to be crucial for romance. In one experiment, not realizing the study had begun, participants were asked to briefly hold a coffee, either hot or iced. Later, the participants read a story about a hypothetical person and were asked to rate their personality. Those who had held the hot cup of coffee perceived the person in the story as happier, more social, more generous, and better-natured than those who had held the cup of iced coffee, who rated the person as cold, stoic and unaffectionate.
If a potential mate has managed to pass all these tests, there’s still one more: the infamous first kiss, a rich and complex exchange of tactile and chemical cues, such as the smell of one’s breath and the taste of their mouth. This magic moment is so critical that a majority of men and women have reported losing their attraction to someone after a bad first kiss.
Once attraction is confirmed, your bloodstream is flooded with norepinephrine, activating your fight or flight system. Your heart beats faster, your pupils dilate, and your body releases glucose for additional energy — not because you’re in danger but because your body is telling you that something important is happening. To help you focus, norepinephrine creates a sort of tunnel vision, blocking out surrounding distractions, possibly even warping your sense of time, and enhancing your memory. This might explain why people never forget their first kiss.
You looked up from your Chemistry notes, meeting his gaze. He looked genuinely troubled, and his ears were bright red.
“Yeah, Peter?” You said, clicking your pen and turning to face him. He was sitting cross-legged on the carpet in your bedroom, staring at you nervously.
“A-are you free-tomorrow evening?” He asked you, scratching his neck adorably and biting his lip. You felt your heart flutter, but you ignored it. You’d seen how smitten he was with Liz. There was no way that he was asking you what you think he was going to ask.
“Yes,” You said calmly. Shut up, brain.
“So…” He mumbled, “I was free too, and I was thinking that we could go down to Costa, I-I mean as friends, obviously, as friends.”
“Sure,” You said, masking your disappointment at the words ‘as friends’. You wanted more, but if he didn’t, you were okay.
You both continued to quiz each other until finally at dinner he was done and he left.
“So…see you tomorrow…” He said, retreating into the darkness, leaving you staring at him.
You fumbled with the buttons on the back of your top, trying to close them. Your hands just wouldn’t stretch. You were getting late for your ‘meeting’ with Peter, and you hated to be late, no matter what the occasion.
Finally, after a grunt and painful stretching, you managed to close the buttons, dreading to think of the fact that you would have to open them when you came back. But you were so annoyed with yourself for being late that you settled down to ripping the shirt off later. God, that sounded so wrong.
You brisk-walked to Costa, which wasn’t far. You pushed open the door hurriedly, the smell of melting chocolate and roasting coffee beans hitting you. You smiled, your eyes searching for the boy you had a crush on. You saw the familiar figure of Peter Parker waving at you from one of the tables at the far end.
“Sorry, I got late,” You said as you sat down on the chair opposite to his.
“It’s fine, I thought you wouldn’t come,” He said, smiling cheekily as he cocked his head to the side. “So, what shall we have?”
“Oh, I won’t have coffee,” You said airily, “I’ll just have a chocolate chip muffin,”
“Sure,” Peter said, “Why though?”
“I’m not particularly in the mood,”
After you two were done ordering, Peter ending up ordering an iced tea, you chatted. Until Peter proved once again that he was the clumsiest teen in Queens.
“Why did you call me for coffee anyway?” You asked lightly.
Peter gulped, sitting up straight, suddenly flustered. “I-I didn’t mean it romantically- I don’t know why people associate coffee with romance- not with romance, I mean- romance means something which can be felt with all the five senses- love is-”
“Peter,” You said, laughing, though your heart was sinking when he said that the date hadn’t meant to be romantic. “You’re not making any sense!”
“Sorry,” He said, sitting straighter. He took a sip of his iced tea. One of the waitresses bumped into his shoulder, and he jumped, his iced tea flying out of his hands.
Guess what happened next?
Yep. And your shirt was stained badly.
You gasped, getting up roughly. Peter’s eyes widened, and he grabbed your hand, hurriedly paying the bill and dragging me out while apologizing.
“God, Y/N, I’m so sorry-” He said for the hundredth time as you reached your apartment. Nobody was home. You threw your bag onto the couch and hurried into your room. You were just about to head into the bathroom when you realized that you wouldn’t be able to open the buttons.
You walked over to Peter, who was sitting on your bed, heat rising up to yor cheeks. It was like the universe was conspiring against you.
“Uh- P-Peter? Could you- uh- unbutton my- my shirt?” You blubbered, your cheeks burning with embarrassment. His ears turned red, and he coughed.
“Yeah- sure,” He said, “Turn around,”
You obeyed. He stood up, gently undoing the buttons. His fingers brushed over your bare back, sending tingles down your spine. His warm breath hit your neck. He steered you by your shoulders, turning you around.
Your heart was beating wildly as he leaned forward. Your breath hitched as his lips met yours, sending shivers down your body.
You broke away, putting your hand on his mouth. “Didn’t you like Liz?”
“Who’s Liz?” He murmured, his lips on your again, and his tongue begging for entrance. You complied. Your hands arn through his hair, and you bit his lip, eliciting a soft moan from him. You both shuffled backward, your legs hitting the bed. He pushed you onto the bed, pinning you down and pressing kisses on your neck, your jaw and nibbling your ear. His teeth caught a tender peice of flesh on your neck and he sucked on it, causing you to moan. His lips were on yours again, but before either of you could go further, there was a voice from downstairs.
“Honey, I’m home!”
You scrambled off your bed, rushing into your bathroom. Peter sat down on your bed like a perfectly good kid and winked at you as you dissappeared.
“Don’t worry, lover boy, we will finish what we started,” You muttered as you changed your clothes.
I… got thirsty. This is a very quick blurb. This is porn. This is Harry Styles between your legs affecting all five of your senses. It’s only loosely proofread since I, uh, banged it out just now, but hopefully that doesn’t matter. Enjoy. x.
Getting head from Harry is a
complete sensory experience. He’s good at it, he knows it, he enjoys it, and it shows.
Even when you can’t see him.
It’s just the pile of long,
fluffy, soft, dark curls between your thighs and two arms, one of which is
heavily tattooed and the other almost bare. He’s slanted his forearms across
your inner thighs to hold them open and he’s angled his hand to be able to
stroke you with his fingers when his mouth can’t be everywhere at once.
Focus on feelings. As Bruce Lee once said, we need emotional content. It took me a long time to realize that reading about people stimulating each other is actually the least interesting part of smut, because there’s only so many ways to write about bumping uglies before it gets boring. Get inside the characters’ heads; let us know what they’re feeling in any given moment.
Include build up. That’s everything from foreplay to anticipation. One of my favorite things to write is the day or week leading up to the sex scene. Not only is it a fun to write, it builds anticipation in the audience for the actual scene. Once you get them together, include some foreplay. Don’t rush to the ending unless the characters are screwing in a supply closet.
Communication. Dialogue makes smut scenes pop and brings out character emotions/thoughts/feelings. People talk during sex and characters should too. As a sidebar (and maybe this is just me) but I find the potentially awkward conversations about boundaries/limits/protection to be part of the whole build up experience.
Characterization. Don’t be afraid to let your characters’ personalities shine through during the act. People don’t become totally emotionless zombies when they’re having sex.
Focus on the whole body. Describe what the characters’ hands are doing, what their expressions are like, how they’re positioned. Pay attention to erogenous zones outside the genitalia involved. Let readers experience the whole scene.
Use all five senses in writing. Everything from the smell of sweat and perfume to the sensation off sliding across Egyptian cotton sheets.
Research. If you’re writing something out of your experience, do some reading on it first.
Include aftermath. Cuddling, pillow talk, DTR convo’s are great character building opportunities.