Saturday, April 07, 2012

April Showers: Sure-fire Revison Techniques

Ah, April! I hope to water your work this week. I've been uber busy an need a breather for this week, so i will keep the post short and sweet. Spring is such a time of renewal. My best advice to create wonderful work -- learn how to revise.

I'm still learning how to revise. Many authors spin their wheels because they think the know how to revise but instead of moving their work forward they are creating a train wreck. So here are some techniques that really have helped me (techniques that move me forward). I hope they help you. Strengthen your work.

1. The point-of-no-return. What is the point-of-no-return? The mid-point of your novel. When Elizabeth realizes she is love with Mr. Darcy or when the Millennium Falcon is sucked into the Death Star by the tractor beam. You just can't go back after that stuff. Find the point-of-no-return in your novel and put it on the center page of your work. Clip it and paste to dead center and fit everything else around it. Your novel is better now.

2. No repeats. You get to say every thing one time. Ask yourself am I repeating myself. You might repeat descriptions. You might repeat plot points. You might go on about the way your character feels. You will strengthen your story by cutting out repeats of information.

3.Read your novel. Okay, this feels like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of ways to read your novel, and you should do as many reads as you can. Read your novel silently and aloud. Don't forget to record your reading and then listen to it. Have someone read your novel to you. Read your novel on paper, on screen and on ereader, change the fonts and read it again, change the fonts and read it again. Don't forget to read the whole thing in one afternoon. Do this a number of times. If you are worried about a section, read each line backwards.(I'm not joking.)

4. Toss out the ending. This may sound awful but I think writing another ending can help you. Ask yourself this question, what could happen that is more terrible than what has happened already? I mean if you have a romance, what is the most horrible thing that could happen to these clueless souls. If you have dystopian future, is there any way to make it more horrible -- kill somebody.

5. Leverage POV. I do this one all the time. I like to write in third person limited, but sometimes I find I'm drifting in emotional scenes, so I write the scenes in first person and when I'm done, I convert them to third person limited. It's a great way to find the appropriate interior introspection that makes fiction come alive. Another way I help myself out is to rewrite the scene from the POV of different characters. This helps me untangle how my characters should react in scenes. I also write a telling of chapters, this helps me get the plot on track.

That's a lot of stuff. You will be busy for weeks, but you will be very happy. Also, Please check out the excerpt of my YA comedy PLUMB CRAZY, a quarter finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, Young Adult Division. Likes and reviews welcome. :)

Come back next week for more showers to make you work bloom.

Now for this week's doodle entitled "Rely."

Here is the quote:
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Henry Ford


Trudi Trueit said...

Thanks for the great revising tips, Molly (I am almost to the point of no return in my current WIP, so your wise advise arrives at a key time!)

MollyMom103 said...

I'm glad to add a timely word to your WIP!

Faith Pray said...

Molly, once again I come to your place and get a feast of good word food! Thank you! I will take these thoughts very seriously as I burrow back in my hole and plow through revisions. "Play with new endings...Increase the tension...Tape the point-of-no-return on the it"...See? I'm loving your advice already! Thank you!

MollyMom103 said...

Oh, hi Faith! I'm glad for your burrowing. I'm right there with you.

Candylynn Fite said...

Molly, I plan on revisiting this post when I delve back into my YA revisions of Josey Jones. Right now, I have myself split into fifty directions. Once I get Little A. and Redbird ready for submissions and their queries perfected (simply!), I'll jump back in and revise while submitting the picture books.