Friday, February 17, 2012

Re-imagine, Reconstruct, Revise

"Books aren't written- they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it." Michael Crichton

Some writers enjoy revising, but most view it as a necessary evil. Who, after all, writes a perfect first draft?

Whether your manuscript needs its first or eighth rewrite--and whether you're a pantser or a plotter, it's smart to approach revision with a plan.

Lynette Burrows, who prefers the term "re-visioning" to revising, focuses on the big picture . Her five-part series, "Revisioning Your Story," starts here. In part two, she turns her attention to characters' goals. Third, she looks at conflict.
Fourth, she stresses characterization. Fifth, she examines plot. Finally, she looks at setting.

Jami Gold turned to Blake Snyder's Save the Cat--and a spreadsheet—to revise a manuscript she "pantsed." Gold shares her experience here , and it's so intriguing, I downloaded a copy of the spreadsheet she followed. Even if Excel may makes your eyes cross, give this technique a try.

Once revisions are past the big-picture stage, we must make sure our words have the desired effect. At Jenny Hansen's blog, writing teacher Margie Lawson gives a lesson in writing fresh and eliciting emotion.

At edittorrent, writer and editor Alicia Rasley offers insight into pacing that inspired me to tear apart scenes.

That's it for now, but I've got lots of revising to do—and will pass along nuggets of inspiration and advice as I need and find them.


Lynette M Burrows said...

Pat, I am honored and pleased that you've found my series on re-visioning your story to be so helpful you have featured it here.

I love Save the Cat, too. There are so many helpful resources for writers. One cannot know them all. But one _can_ learn something from each. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of a few more helpful bloggers.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Thank YOU, Lynette, for a series that takes some of the sting out of revising.

Christine said...

See, that's absolutely spot on! Thank you for those links.I LOVE revising. On my last wip I must have spent most of last year working on it. The key is to put it away after the first draft and work on something else.

The best book I've ever read was Scene and Structure by the late Jack Bickham. And the great James Scott Bell's Revising and Self-Editing is dog-eared. Just finished his The Art of War for Writers and loved it. It sort of gave me a boot up the bum. In a first draft of a new wip I've achieved over 13,000 new words and they even make sense, which is always a plus I think.

Great post, Pat.

Christine said...

Er, meant to say 13,000 in a week! Not in a day.

Sarah Andre said...

Oh Pat,
This is exactly what I needed today after getting the agent go-ahead to thoroughly revise (but not rewrite) my cotton-picking story one more time! Thanks for the links, I'll pass them on.

Jami Gold said...

Thanks for the link! Elizabeth Davis wrote the "Save the Cat" spreadsheet originally, but after I had so much success with it, I made another spreadsheet for Larry Brooks's "Story Engineering." (That's on Tuesday's post "Revising for Structure, Part 2.")

I hope they're all helpful! :)

Karen McFarland said...

Pat, this is an amazing post! Just today I ran off a copy from my memory stick and printed my MS. And now it's time to go to work. The timing of your post could not have been any better. I'm bookmarking this. It's like a mash-up for revisions!!! Thanks Pat! :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Christine, I just ordered The Art of War for Writers--because I need a boot up the bum. Thanks for the suggestion.

Is it wrong I'm kinda glad you didn't produce 13,000 words in ONE day?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Sarah! Congrats on getting the agent go-ahead to revise. Revision may be hell, but green lights are heaven.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Jami, I'm typing very fast so I can dash over to your site to read your latest post.

I dashed. Here's the link:

Thanks, Jami, for another super-helpful post.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You have a way with words, Karen. I like "mash-up for revisions." Now if only I could fix a manuscript with a stick of butter.

Hang in there, Karen. You WILL make it through revision.

Fabio Bueno said...

Great links, Pat! I've read a few of them but not all. I might do another pass at my completed mss with Lynette's tools. Thanks!

Lark Howard said...

What a terrific post, Pat!! I love the Crichton quote. I'm certainly a veteran of the re-writing wars!

I haven't had a chance to follow all the links yet--I'm working on revisions and need to keep focused today. Your links are always inspired, though, so I'll definitely check them out tomorrow!

Coleen Patrick said...

I've used the Save the Cat beat sheet too. I like it because it helps me pull together the main story. I like the linear feel of it.

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