REVISION (S)

images_028Does this word scare you? If so, think again and use part of this word as a positive attitude of writing. The word we need to focus on is VISION.

How many times do we read, read, and read our work again. Each time we can find something we missed the last time we read through the W-H-O-L-E manuscript. We get upset at the mistakes we noticed again and sometimes we are so used to seeing our manuscript, we do not read, rather glance over each page. If we use ‘track changes’ or the ‘balloon inserts,’ we might not even double-check them. Why? We did that the last time.

Still there are errors to clean up, names to keep straight, dates, ‘oh my’ the dates, and the seasons. The protagonist cannot be caught in her bikini with snow drifts piled beside the pool. Or the hero sweltering in his overcoat as the sun beats down on the pavement and he races to catch the thief.

Silly thoughts? Of course, but we all make mistakes, and then we hear via an email or received the manuscript back with “this still needs revising,” written in ink all over the first page. It becomes time for the hair-pulling exercise. Yes, our hands to our own head and a few yanks close to the roots.

So instead of going bald, try something new. As we start to read again, all 400 or so pages, look with the word VISION in mind. Each area showing red marks, balloon inserts or other identifying track changes, stop. Can we change this? Is that what we meant to say or show or were we directing our characters? Play around with each marked-up area and listen to what your characters say to you or even show you what can be done to make then more active, more alluring, and even more dangerous.

When we turn off the vision censor, we can let go and see a different setting, a new twist, another layer of the character that wasn’t there before. Maybe, just maybe, we peel away more layers and find the sequel to this manuscript. Then, as we continue with the Vision Process, we become more in step with our writing and our characters. We let our characters have free rein, and sometimes have to curb their intentions.

Is this REVISION? Yes, but with a new twist. We are listening to our characters, seeing improvements to our manuscript, but do we use everything? No. We make adjustments and modifications to our story, save some for the sequel. As we travel through each page, we review, reconsider, find expansions to our story. As we progress, we might even develop new plots to have our characters undertake or risk.

Revision now becomes a mission as we make corrections and let our characters express themselves in different gambles. This makes the VISION of REVISION work for our manuscript.

Happy Revisions. Happy Visions. Happy Writing.

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LET’S GO ON A WORD DIET

AudienceWhat? That won’t do a thing for my waistline or any other part of my anatomy. But, think of what it will do for your writing.

Sure?

More than sure. A positive move.

Look at all the excess words you have in your story. This will involve a little extra work, but worth its weight. As writers, we all like to expand on a setting, a scene, a character, or a narrative description. Due these additions drive your story forward? Does this make you character more believable? No. Sometimes these extra words detract from the story rather than add anything.

So, go back to the old-fashioned way — a printed version and a red pen. With all the pages in your lap, grab your red pen and uncap this instrument. Relax. This is not your gym exercise, but your brain in action. You need the television off, the radio off, and if you have some good meditation music on a CD, go for it.

Feel the tension float away. Music or no music, it does not matter as long as you are in the moment. Picture yourself as the reader of a new novel, not yours, but your alter ego’s writing. Put that thought on hold, during the reading. Then you can slash, and slash, and not feel a thing. However, your alter ego may not have a great day.

You are in the Diet Mode. Look at each word as necessary. How many times have you used the same word twice within a couple of paragraphs? Go back and slice with your red pen, an action known as PR Slice.

Have you explained any actions or just let the actions happen. If an explanation, use the RP Slice. Actions speak a heck of a lot louder than an explanation. A boxer does not explain each move, but the opponent feels every move.

Then look at your words as trying to get the reader to listen to every movement and they feel like you think they need to be told. Check for all of these places, delete, and rewrite. If you try to show the kiss or the sound of a kiss, write a stripped version of the scene. Guess what? Your reader will relate and remember their first kiss.

Do not make the reader have to grasp or wonder what is going on. This is your job as a writer. Each writer must give the reader everything to make that person become part of the novel.

By putting your novel on a diet, you have deleted explanations, double descriptions, and given the reader his or her utmost senses: I am part of this story. The Word Diet, restores the readers beliefs in the story and words. You have brought the reader to a place he or she remembers, but you have not told them. They recognized the place in an instant.

Congrats. You have lost xxxx words. Your reader is enthralled and you are xxxx pounds less. Showing is fewer calories than telling.

Happy Writing.

HOW IS YOUR MIDDLE?

write and booksNo, this is not your waistline, your love handles or your mirror view. This is the middle of your novel.

We all have questions, problems and sags in the middle of our story. The story is there, the characters have their dialog down great, but something is missing. We know the beginning of the story and how the story should end; what about the middle?

This can be a rush, where we want to write everything in a hurry and get this part done and finished. Or, we have a tendency to string out every moment, detail and end up telling the reader instead of showing the most intricate parts of the novel.

Before any change or revision, read your novel again in your own voice. What? After six revisions, I know my story almost word by word. This is why you should pick up your manuscript, sit before a mirror or stand as if you were at a conference ready to read your book. No cheating.

As the middle stretches before you, the words get harder to read. You stammer and start over. This is okay. Mark on your manuscript where this happens and continue your reading. OOPS, didn’t I say the same thing a few pages ago, and mark the spot. Keep reading and keep marking. Soon, you realize some of your sags in the middle, but read more. You may discover even more sags.

After the reading is complete, your work just begins. Compile a short sentence or two about each chapter. Then you will know what each character is doing, where the action takes place, and then you see where the sagging starts. And, you can capture the intimate parts of the book and the timeline.

Are there areas you can delete and move the middle forward without telling the reader? Ouch! I know the word delete hurts, but a middle that sags is worse. Now, you have re-worked the middle, read again and again. Do the changes make your characters shine and come alive. If not, return to the sag and determine what you can do.

Maybe the middle just needs a gentle massage. If you can cut out the telling and redundancy in the middle, maybe the ending can be lengthened. Sometimes, we rush through the story and the ending. If you show detail throughout your story, your ending will hit you full force.

Check the ending again. Can you give more to your reader? Show the reason for the triangle or give a glimpse of the killer. Extend the ending to bring the reader to a fulfilling read.

Make certain your reader closes the covers of your book satisfied and able to smile as a tear slides down a face. Then, you have done your job as an author.

Remember to “Check your middle.”