Sunday, March 7, 2010

Revising & Whatnot

By Lisa Lopez Snyder

I’m at that stage of revision where I’m taking workshop feedback on my short fiction and making decisions: Do I cut this sentence? Should I move this part up, move that back? What’s a better, stronger word? Does this make my character more authentic?

Revising can seem like trudging up a long hill you just slid down. But does it always have to feel so daunting? I guess it means you need to feel the pain to get to the joy.

Writing always seems so much easier, and with a few handy mantras by my side, I usually feel spurred forward. There’s the straightforward Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” Another one is my own: “It doesn’t write itself.” I admit, they are admonishments, but they work for me. So…why not put together something to help with revisions?

Here are a few ideas. See what you think, and if you have any more, please comment. I need some help up the hill!

• Start in the middle and see what happens.
• You’re more than halfway there.
• Tell me what it’s like to be that character in that scene.
• Read it aloud.
• At least there’s a story to work with.
• That wasn’t so hard.


Ginny said...

Sometimes surgery is necessary. Don't be afraid to cut it out.

write&run said...

Thanks, Ginny. I like that!

Anonymous said...

Critiquing and editing your own work is difficult because you know what you wrote and what you want to say, sometimes, reading it backwards will make words and sentences stand out that you would have normally rolled right over

Once again, for the fourth time, Google has changed my username and password and I have no idea what they changed it to

George Newport

Michelle said...

I read a lot about the process of writing, I can pick up a book, plop down on my couch with my cozy blankie, and dog, and read it from cover to cover promising myself that I will try and follow that advice which seems wise. There are so many suggestions: write the complete first draft before you start going over it; write one chapter then put it aside, write the next, then revise the first; write for a week then dedicate the 8th day to going over what you have written ONCE, then move on. All of this advice sounds wise.

So, which do I follow? None of the above. I suffer from Review and Edit Addiction Disorder (READ).

With that in mind, I have two major problems.

1. Will I ever finish my novel or should I prepare a codicil to my will and bequeath the unfinished manuscript to someone?
2. I have completely changed the layout of my novel several times. The 3 friends/editors are getting annoyed. As an example, my friend Michael called and said I am on page 150, what happened to Malinda, my favorite character? He was real defensive (of Malinda) when I told him she doesn’t show up in this version until after page 200, and by then she is dead. So my question is, if I don’t hurry up and finish the novel will I loose them as friends, editors or both?

Anonymous said...

Ditto Ginny, but save and file any cut longer than a page. It may be part of another story.