The Layering Technique [Editing 101]

the layering technique

Hello, all! Today is the LAST day of our editing series [Editing 101] and it has been incredibly fun! We love sharing these editing tips, especially for new writers and friends of ours who are starting to write manuscripts just like us. 😀

Today’s topic will cover something we learned from our editor while writing The King’s Jewel. It’s called the “Layering Technique.” In this technique, writers introduce new characters or settings by applying multiple “layers” to a character. Sometimes, by introducing someone with the state of their room, or the way their bedsheets are folded, can be the greatest hint to a character’s true personality.

Need an example? We’ve got one for you … from our own book, The King’s Jewel! (Don’t worry, it’s not spoiler-y!)

Here is an excerpt from the book before we applied the layering technique. 

“My word, I honestly don’t know how I’ll handle living with that girl for who-knows how many days.” She abruptly paused before Joseph’s cabin door and curled her lips in a smile.  “Jocelyn? Are you there?” Janine pressed.                                                                                       

The door slowly swung open to reveal a boy with dark hair and olive-toned skin. His eyes were brown despite the startling silver flecks visible in the pot lights above us, and he wore a leather jacket and an expression of contentment.                                                                

“There’s no Jocelyn in this cabin, but there is a Joseph!” He gave a slight smirk. “Name’s Drake. Not the rapper, if you were wondering,” he added, “but I get that a lot.”

Now, here’s the edited, published version with the layering technique:

“My word, I honestly don’t know how I’ll handle living with that girl for who-knows how many days.” She abruptly paused before Joseph’s cabin door and curled her lips in a smile. “Jocelyn? Are you there?” Janine pressed. The door was slightly ajar, so Janine pushed it open. What I saw was definitely not what I expected.

Clothes were strewn all over the beds and floor as if a volcano of laundry had just erupted. Books were also scattered recklessly on the shelves (probably Joseph’s doing), and the curtains looked lopsided. The whole place had an air of complete disarray.

“Hey!” a boy called. He had jumped out from the washroom and looked as if he’d just woken up from a good nap. A mop of brown-black hair sat atop his head, and his skin was the same colour as the walls—an olive-brown. When he approached us, I realized his eyes were chocolate brown despite the startling silver flecks visible in the light above us. He quickly grabbed a leather jacket from the ground, threw it on, and then regarded the three of us. A grin spread across his lips, and his eyes held the wildness and excitement of a hungry wolf.

“There’s no Jocelyn in this cabin, but there is a Joseph!” He gave a slight smirk. “Name’s Drake. Not the rapper, if you were wondering,” he added, “but I get that a lot.”


 

There was a major change there with the whole introduction of a new character, Drake. And though we only really added in a few paragraphs, the reader’s sense of Drake’s character is already present before Drake even pops out of the washroom.

This can certainly go for settings, too. Introducing a new place is like introducing a character; it needs development and body. And by adding layers of information to your reader, you’re allowing them to paint a picture of the character or place you’ve created!

That’s all for today’s post! We hope you enjoyed our week-long Editing 101 series … and look out for a special announcement coming VERY SOON regarding editing!

Best,

S&S

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Layering Technique [Editing 101]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s