Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Put your manuscript away for a month or more. Write something else.
Print out whole thing and take it on a "date"—somewhere like a coffee shop where you can work without interruption.
Read as if you've never read it before. Mark your manuscript using a Fix/Cut/Add strategy:
On your first pass through the manuscript, focus on the fix
Here's what to mark:
Word or meanings that are off: Awk.
Underwritten passages: More
Passages that get off track: No
Passages that are working but not done to the best of your ability: close
Oft-repeated words (She says you can only use the word "cocoon" once per manuscript)
Inconsistencies, e.g. changes made halfway through.
On the second Pass through, Cut ruthlessly
Here's what to focus on:
Repetition: The reader will get it the first time
Stage directions: Just get them into the car, already!
If your mss started in the wrong place, cut the beginning
Adjectives, adverbs, extra words.
Then focus on Adding
For depth—layers of meaning
Then you focus on the big stuff:
1) Look at how the beginning and ending relate to each other. The last scene should be sort of opposite of the first 1st (I thought his was a really interesting idea.)
2) Setting. List settings as you read. they should reflect the main character's arc and should NOT be monotonous (10 scenes in a coffee shop are baaaad)
3) List the main characters. And develop an "Emotional timeline" for each. Look at each scene to make sure there is internal movement. You shouldn't hit the same emotional note in every scene. Mark each scene with a + or - to indicate emotional state. Each scene should move character from + to - (or - to +)
Check Grammar, Spelling Paragraphs, sentence variety etc. Use a highlighter to mark low level language glitches.
Find 3 beta readers who are not writers but big readers. Send them the manuscript. Buy them dinner. Listen to them talk about your manuscript and do not speak. Take notes.
Based on what they have to say, Revise all over again...
What do you think? What sort of revision techniques do you use?