Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Revision Decision

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
~Scott Adams~

Lately among my writing friends I’m hearing about revision. This one is revising this, the other is revising that. What is so important about revision anyway? Only the biggest necessity in your writing journey, without revision, we get nowhere.

Revision is a necessity because, as I’ve stated so many times before, our job is to get the story out on paper, with the internal editor off, tapping keys playing a tempo, chapter after chapter until we have a completed novel. Revision is where we’re going to go back and read what we wrote.

Look for inconsistencies in the time line, people, places, and things. Read with both eyes open, or in some cases, the sight impaired, need to listen with both ears. Revision is going to take us down the path of really seeing what we wrote. Many times we’ll see something we missed, or skipped over, or maybe we’ll see so many grammatical errors, we’re ready to toss the work out.

No, don’t do that. After your first revision, you need to just let the piece settle for a week so when you come back for a second revision, your ready to really dig in and see what doesn’t work, maybe what does work and maybe even how refining it will make it better.

Sometimes we add a chapter, sometimes we slice and dice words like they were yesterdays scraps. My dog ate my homework takes on new meaning. I give my dog table scraps so when my words are scrapped, I have to blame the dog. We see things that should or shouldn’t be there. We’re in the drivers seat but wait, this might be the time to say, I want my colleagues to take a look at my work, to see what they think.

Place your work in the hands of a password protected site, and post chapter after chapter for review, critique, suggestions, anything they want to add or take away, allow them to reign in and put a spin on the artistic work that you created. It’s nice to have that extra set of eyes, then revise it again and again.

Do you see what I’m saying here? Revision is important. Just ask Stephen King, he goes through 22 revisions! Well that’s what he has said anyway in his book On Writing. 

Write Right folks. Take your passion to new levels and blossom like the wildflower I’ve known you to become! You’re on the right track if you see revision as a necessity, not a hindrance.

It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.
~Will Shetterly~

1 comment:

June said...

Love the quote at the end, Joni!

When I revise I kill or combine characters, change settings, give the plot new twists and turns, all to get to the end that I have in mind.

I've also changed the sex of a character, made a minor character the antagonist (or protagonist), and changed the story from one genre to another.

Why do I do this? Because I can! As the Goddess of the Worlds I Create, I want the best possible story for my readers.

What fun! :)

Take care,