Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How I Write: Revision: How to Begin

Welcome to the seventh installment of the How I Write series, brainchild of Ansha Kotyk.  A group of writers are writing about how we write – scheduled for Wednesdays through August.  Please check back weekly. And click here for the list of all the writers participating and links to their blogs.

Today's topic: Revision

Newsflash: I love revision. This is what I live for--getting to the point where I can revise.  I often break a cardinal writer's rule and start revising before I even get to the end.  ::gasp::  Anyone else do that?  Revise as you go?

When I'm really ready to dive into major revision, I usually spend some time looking at passive/active voice issues--making sure I've used the strongest words possible, making sure my sentence structure is varied and interesting.  I might read some books on craft and see if I'm hitting all the plot points I should be.  I might read out loud a bit to make sure my dialogue is working.

I had one major plot twist rewrite during the last novel--I had a whole plot line where the object of my protag's crush fell and got a head injury.  There was a great scene where the protag and a gay [male] friend shared a moment over the injured boy's broken body.  It was great. And way too Guiding Light.

I decided to scrap the whole plot line--bye bye 15k words.  Started over pretty much. But it helped me know my characters better, their motivation, their personalities--even though that stuff didn't happen.  That was major revision.

Keep in mind I've only finished one some of these strategies might be different with WIP #2. But still, I seriously love revision.

Am I the only one?


Ansha said...

Yes. :) Just kidding I think revising is a major component of writing and if we didn't enjoy it, even a little bit, we'd never finish a novel.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I used to love revision. WA! Now I just know all the things I don't know! Well, I am loving revision this week. I think it is confidence(lack there of, I mean) that gets me down.

I am working on loving drafting.

Tatiana Caldwell said...

I generally have this love/hate thing for revisions. I know I have to do it, and I love the final outcome of revisions - a polished story! Yet, somethings it's daunting. But I really think that, for me at least, tackling it with specific mini goals in mind helps a lot, and can help prevents me from getting lost and overwhelmed.

Kris said...

I still love revision, though it seems REALLY far away right now. :)

Kay said...

I'm with you--I'm still drafting, but I've already gone through and made some revisions. I find it helps me get unstuck if I go back and rework something that isn't working.

Jess said...

I'm tempted to revise as I go along, but it tends to slow down my momentum. I admire your discipline to cut a scene you thought didn't quite belong--15K gone??? I think I would cry...just for a moment, then I'd move on. But dang--keep that 15K locked away for another story!

Kris said...

Kay - glad I'm not the only one!

Thanks Jess. Yeah, it's filed. :)
Who knows, a sequel is floating around my brain and I might pull out parts of that stuff!