Monday, September 16, 2013

Tackling Revisions

Sometimes when you get those first notes back - and you know perfectly well that you're going to have work to do - it's a little intimidating. Do you ever feel like you're looking at Mount Everest, armed with only gym shoes and a latte from Starbucks? I do.

So the logical answer is to take one step at a time, right? Well, sort of. Yes, that's how you approach it, but you also should probably take the time to sip your latte and go get yourself some appropriate gear before you start climbing. 

What kind of gear would you use for tackling a mountainous revision? Well, here's a checklist we can all add to:

  1. Notes. Gather all your critique notes and organize them into categories. Maybe you realize that Character A has an issue with likability. Make that one category. That can be one step up the mountain when you're ready. Do a pass through looking only for opportunities to fix that. 
  2. Read. It really helps me when I read a good book before I start. That always inspires me and jumpstarts my brain. 
  3. Crash Course. Go back to your favorite craft book or blog post about the areas you seem to be having issues in or that intimidate you the most and study up on it. Then you have some good picks and a bungie cord to catch you if you start to slip.
  4. Time. Make sure you have a plan as far as when you are going to attack this project. You can't just say, "I'll be done by two so I can pick up the kids." Well, you can, but not with the whole thing. Be realistic in other words. If you have fifteen minutes, great! But don't expect more than fifteen minutes worth of work. 
  5. Chocolate, music, coffee, wine, whatever it is you use to get in the zone. Your favorite spot on the couch with your laptop perhaps. 
Good luck climbing that mountain, friends! Maybe I'll run into you on my way up and we can share some chocolate. ;D

11 comments:

  1. Great post, Lisa. When I got my editors developmental edits back, I had to go on a looong walk to come up with a solution to something she wanted me to work on. But it worked. Must have been that lake I got to walk along. Too bad I was on vacation and couldn't bring said lake home.

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  2. This was an inspiring post this morning. Lately I've been thinking I need to wrap my arms around the thinking part before the just jumping in part!

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  3. Good suggestions for tackling those revisions. And yes, sometimes they seem overwhelming.

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  4. Great ideas. Though sometimes I only get 15 minutes work out of an hour.

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  5. Great ideas - the last one is probably the best. LOL

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  6. Great tips! I fix the easy things first, getting them out of the way. The tougher issues take more time. I'll marinate on those for a while. Brainstorm.

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  7. When I first started writing novels, I loved the drafting. Now I love the revising. Seeing something rough become rounded is a beautiful thing. Great tips.

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  8. Perfect timing for me - thanks!! :)

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  9. I find reading helps me, too. I'm also a stickler for being organized while I revise. My writing area might look like chaos to someone else, but to me all my notes and doodles have to be in front of me. :)

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  10. Oh my gosh I'm on that one last awful cliff before the mountainous top where I might have to put on climbing gear and deal with fear of heights. Thank goodness I still have access to tea and a comfy couch!

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  11. How was I not a member of your blog before? *scratching head* Well, remedied now.

    Can I add one piece of advice?

    Time. Step back and let the suggestions marinade for a couple days. It's always good to get some perspective before lifting the scalpel.

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