Side note: Don’t forget to add your creative juices to the Renaming “Trevor & the Tooth Fairy” Title Contest–you can win fun prizes!
It’s been *forever* since I did a Thursday Thirteen. I keep meaning to, and keep forgetting they exist. (Much like Poetry Monday. I must remember to rejoin the poetry train!) So, today I remember, but I’m still not doing one. Can’t think of thirteen anythings off the top of my head.
Instead… lets talk about revision. Mostly because I’m getting ready to revise and really can’t think of anything else right now, ’cause I’m super-excited about that.
Yes, we. You and me. I’ll show you mine first, and then you show me yours in the comments, okay?
So, as you may or may not know, I’ve written 4 complete manuscripts. (I’d say 4.7, since DATD is almost done, but I don’t think 0.7 of a manuscript counts as “complete”. *g)
How did I revise Novel 1?
* Start writing first draft
* Receive crit group feedback before finishing first draft
* Immediately address criticism, even if that meant rewriting from scratch before continuing on with the new writing
This was a Bad Plan. Do not try this at home. I got so, so, so sick of that story…
Everyone’s process is different. Some people like to revise multiple times. Some people are ready to ship it off to their agent/editor by the time they hit The End.
I’m the sort of person who needs to hit The End before rewriting page 1. I’ve learned that about myself finally, and so glad I did. So, moving on to:
How did I revise Novel 2?
* Write complete first draft
* Send off requested full (from conference pitch)
* Receive single CP feedback
* Realize story needs serious help, and shelve entire project
Yet another Bad Idea.
The problem here wasn’t that I shelved this story. I’m so glad I did. It’s not even a genre I wish to pursue anymore.
The problem is the order of bulleted items 2 and 3, especially since this story was aimed at pretty much the sole category house. I’d killed this story’s chances.
I learned to complete the first draft before starting major reconstructive surgery, which was good, and I’d quit virtually all the eight billion online critique groups I’d joined during Story 1 (which was another terrible idea–never write a story by committee!) but I was so eager to get the requested MS off in a timely fashion that I sent it off before I got my CP’s feedback. Which was stupid. So, moving on:
How did I revise Novel 3?
* Write complete manuscript
* Shelve it
Say it with me: yet another Bad Idea. How was it going to go anywhere, with that method?
The upside is that if I had not shelved that story when I did, I wouldn’t’ve been sitting around with nothing better to do when the crapometer rolled around. So I definitely don’t regret it in that sense.
Plus, having given that manuscript so much space–and having written 1.7 stories since then–has afforded me perspective and objectivity I didn’t have before, not to mention better skill at my craft. So, when I go back to revise this story (and I will, right after TATTF) I’ll actually do a much better job of it than if I’d sat down to revise it right after I finished it in the first place.
So, not completely a bad thing!
I mentioned I was actually learning during this process, so on to:
How did I revise Novel 4?
* Write complete first draft, sending CPs chunks at a time
* Read and file their crits while finishing draft
* Make a To Do list of big things to change (while finishing draft)
* Plotstorm with CPs after finishing draft
* Make all the big To Do changes first
* Make all the line-crit feedback second
* Layer and polish last
* Send off requested full (this time, via slush pile request)
This, as it turns out, was a Good Idea. One I highly recommend, if you haven’t found your process yet. (If you have found your process, then by all means, stick to your process!)
So, now that I did all that, is novel number four perfect? Hell no.
I got a fabulous edit memo from my agent–some points of which eerily echoed story feedback I’d received the week before, from a non-writer beta reader–and I now have a Plan of Attack.
Here, I’ll prove it to you:
That monstrosity, my friends, is the brand spanking new TATTF storyboard, the methodology of which is cobbled together between a workshop my pal Diana once gave, a concept my pal Julie shared on her blog, and an index card system I’ve been using since the very first story. (In many ways, I transferred the index cards to sticky notes. Much better this way. If you’re interested, I’ll tell you all about it.)
Now my plan is to create a To Do List and a Things To Keep In Mind List (the latter of which is to prevent me from forgetting plot elements or entire characters for whole acts at a time *g) later this evening, and finally get my feet wet with the revision first thing in the morning.
Look to the right–I even added a handy dandy Revise-O-Meter! Isn’t it just lovely? (Er… it will be lovely, once it doesn’t say 0 out of 100,000 accomplished. *g)
YOUR TURN: Now I want to hear all about YOU! If you’ve written at least one complete story, please share the different approaches to revision you’ve tried, and what so far (if anything) has worked best for you. If you’re currently at work on your first story, please share whether you’re revising as you go or waiting to The End. Either way, I’d love to know what made you choose the methods you chose, and what elements did or did not prove effective. Share!