Posts Tagged ‘revision’

Let It Rest

I’m going to tell you something that you don’t want to hear. I know you don’t because I don’t want to hear it either. But here goes.

Stop reading your novel.

I know I’ve said this before, but this time, I really mean it.

My Teachable Moment

Yesterday I had a very interesting day of writing. It had to do with a quick revision I’m doing on my latest novel. This was to be a kind of once-over before I send it to a trusted reader. I don’t want to do a huge, picky edit, just one that picks up the chunks and smooths out the prose a little.

By happenstance I hadn’t read the beginning of the book for six or seven months. I had been pulled away on other writing projects and the book got strung out, and so here I was revising material I hadn’t looked at in a very long time. And–drum roll–I knew how to fix everything. I had a clarity of insight that was remarkable. I cut out fat, clarified scenes, and completely rewrote a few of them, the God-awful ones. I’ll  own up that I had a few. People had said to me before, “What is this scene about, really?” And I thought they were, you know, a little slow on the uptake.

Today I saw exactly what they meant. Read More…

The Essential Scene List

Sometimes writing a novel isn’t so much about deep character or tight plot, but about something far more mundane: like keeping track of what the hell you’re writing.

This is a serious concern for novelists, particularly if you have anything else going on in your life, like a real life. All your brain cells cannot be devoted to the novel. You need organizing devices. Some of mine are: the project notebook, a three-ring binder for novel research, a style sheet listing names and places and special words, and most important, a scene list.

(And before you skip this post–if you already use a scene list–skip to the end and read up on the role of the scene list in revision.) Read More…

Final Edits and Ken Rand

Rand book

I note with sadness the passing of Ken Rand, author of Tales of the Lucky Nickle Saloon, Golems of Laramie County, many short stories and humor columns and those great interviews for Talebones magazine. Also from Fairwood Press, the superb The 10% Solution: self-editing for the modern writer. I will miss Ken, the writing community will miss him. Read More…