Let’s just not talk about how I haven’t blogged lately. You and I both know only two people care, anyway. And you are NOT one of those individuals.
Let’s talk about the new adventure keeping me busy: REVISION
(Look! I’ve included random John Williams movie theme awesomeness to inspire your revisions!)
As I write this, I am slashing my way through the deep, dark jungles of revision for my agent, searching for the lost Tiki of backstory & characterization. When I finally lay hands on this ruby eyed idol, I’ll be one step closer to submitting my project.
How to get through this jungle full of Indiana Jones sized pitfalls? I definitely have strategies for coping. Here are my three tips for survival.
1.) Embrace criticism. Exploit it for all it’s worth.
The revision process is a great opportunity to grow and develop as a writer, so when your beta readers, your friends, and even your agent share feedback, really listen with an open mind. Yes, I’m talking to you, the tortured misunderstood artist. In my experience, the person giving feedback is right more often than not.
Neil Gaiman on critique:
“…when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
Bottom line: Listen, then fix it already!
2. ) Don’t just write during revisions…read, too!
If something is not working, stepping away from your work and immersing yourself in something else might be helpful. When I struggle, I always pull up a pile of great novels and read excerpts with a critical eye. I notice the different styles and elements which make the stories work. I analyze the mix of narrative vs. dialogue, description vs. action, etc.
While I would never try to imitate any other writer’s voice, I think it helps to admire the artistry of good craft. If I read good stuff, it helps me write my own good stuff.
Honestly, show me a terrible writer and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t read.
2.) Write yourself a revision letter.
Tell yourself what you’d like to see in a new draft. Lay it all out there and take yourself to task. Make specific suggestions to your writer self. Then take your own advice and whip your WIP into shape!
3.) Take your time and be strategic.
I go over my manuscript many, many times, focusing on different issues each time. One pass for the protagonist’s voice, one pass for general world-building issues, etc.
And don’t forget what my friend Rosemary Clement Moore says, do overs are allowed!
Hungry for more?
If you are busy poking around on your revisions and pouring your heart into making it better, you might enjoy this recipe for Chocolate Caramel Poke and Pour Cake.