New! Revise this paragraph

Today, I’m giving a small example of editing a paragraph. I’ll show you the before and after in hopes that the revised paragraph is somewhat improved. The point is that when you revise your stories, really analyzed each paragraph, sentence, and word. Find ways to really help your reader see the scene as you intend them to see it. Maybe they won’t picture/imagine exactly what you do, but you want to be sure your intended message is clear.

Before:

A few minutes later the Kelly, or was it Kelsey, comes back with a syringe. It’s a sedative. She gives me no choice, insisting that I need rest to heal. I don’t bother to fight it. Within minutes I relax into the stark white sheets. My eye lids are heavy. I’m sinking, sinking. Hospital noises meld into a single sound echoing a hundred miles away.

An analysis of the paragraph showed me words and phrases that could be revised (bold).

A few minutes later the Kelly, or was it Kelsey, comes back with a syringe. It’s a sedative. She gives me no choice, insisting that I need rest to heal. I don’t bother to fight it. Within minutes I relax into the stark white sheets. My eye lids are heavy. I’m sinking, sinking. Hospital noises meld into a single sound echoing a hundred miles away. (65 words)

A few minutes later: Sounds like telling instead of showing. Boring.
Comes back: Dull verb. Punch it up.
It’s a sedative: Telling. Embellish a little.
Gives me no choice: Dull. Embellish a little.
I don’t bother: Telling. What did I really do? Show it.
Relax: regular every day verb. Melt is a little more descriptive.
Are heavy: Telling. Simply describes a state of being. What really happened?
Sound: dull noun.

After:

Before I have a chance to quench my dry mouth, Kelly, or Kelsey, returns brandishing the dreaded syringe, the sedative I told her I didn’t want. She firmly grasps my arm giving me no choice, insisting that I have to rest if I expect to heal. I give in. I’m utterly exhausted. I can’t argue. Within minutes, I melt into the stark white sheets. My eyelids sag shut, blocking out the fluorescent lights overhead. I’m sinking, sinking. Hospital noises meld into a single hum echoing a hundred miles away. (91 words)

Maybe the paragraph could be improved even further, but this is a good start on punching up some dull verbs, showing instead of telling, and generally painting a clearer picture of the scene in the reader’s mind. Notice that the revision has a few more words, but I’ve described a little better how the character is feeling and what’s going on.

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