Thursday, July 31, 2008

Left Behind: With Revision

Yes, I'm moping. Big time. While it seems like everyone else is in San Francisco at the RWA national conference, I'm stuck at home and hating it.

Well, I'm hating the fact that I'm not with everyone else in San Fran. But I have to admit, I'm getting a hell of a lot of work done. I'm in the middle of revisions on the second book in a series that my agent is shopping and I have to say I think it's going well.

I actually love to work on revisions. When you move onto revisions, the seemingly hard part of writing the entire book is behind you. Now comes the fun part. Now is the time when you fine tune, when you add that extra something that takes your work from good to ready-to-go.

So what should you be looking for when you do revisions?

Since I write romance, one of the first things I study is the romantic relationship. Does it have enough conflict? Does every scene with the hero and heroine propel their relationship forward? Do their scenes heighten the sexual tension? Do they connect with each other and the reader? Do the love scenes do more than titilate? They should not only be a powerful moment for the couple, but these scenes should also show some growth in the romantic relationship.

Next, I take a look at the overall plot of the book. Does every scene give us useful information about the plot? You might have written the best scene with the hero and heroine trading extraordinary banter but if it tells you nothing about them or what they're doing, it's got to go.

How about secondary characters? Do they move the plot forward? Are they interesting? Are they too interesting and taking over the book?

Now, what about voice? Do I hear my characters when they talk? Is there a distinctive rhythm to my writing?

And finally, does it all come together in the end? Did I wrap up every loose end? If not, did I leave it hanging for a reason? Since I'm writing a series, I have to make sure I set up the next book properly.

Hope these questions help in your own revisions.

Excuse me while I go mope some more now.

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8 Comments:

Blogger MaryF said...

I'm moping --- but working. I'm rewriting the ending of last year's GH finalist. I plan to be done and have it to my cp by the time she gets home from conference next week. That'll show her ;)

July 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Mama-Llama said...

I'm moping, too! But I'm also revising (which for me is like pulling teeth-- much harder than writing that self-indulgent first draft!), so hopefully I've have a completed and polished manuscript by the time everyone else gets home!

July 31, 2008 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Julian said...

LOL Mary
at least you've got the right attitude!

July 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Julian said...

hi mama-llama
here's hoping you get that manuscript out the door and in front of an editor before all those conference people get over their jet lag.

July 31, 2008 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

Going to SF just wasn't financially feasible for me. On the other hand, I'm not moping because I've never been to a National before so I don't know what I'm missing out on. :)

Thanks for the post on revisions! Of all the timing, I've been revising something I wrote 2 years ago but it got enough R's for the same reasons that I rethought and rewrote the last half of the book. I think it's much improved, but I'll let my CPs be the judge of that.

I never thought of revisions as fun. My feeling was that it was perfect the first time; why mess with perfection? On the other hand, I got enough R's that I knew something wasn't working. Normally I'd rather go to the dentist than sit down to do revisions, but it has to get done. And you're right, going over a WIP again with fresh eyes does tend to clarify it. Do you revise right after writing The End, or do you let it mellow for a while, maye work on something else, and THEN go back to revise?

July 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Julian said...

Carla,
I always let a project sit for at least a few days before I go back to revisions, sometimes a week, sometimes a month if I have something else to work on.
Good luck with your revisions.

July 31, 2008 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Susan Macatee said...

Although it always feels good to finish a first draft, I have to admit, revision isn't my favorite thing. I've learned how to do a detailed outline that I can revise before I write the first draft. I find it saves me a lot of revision after the story's done. Most of what I have left to do after the first draft is edits.

July 31, 2008 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Julian said...

Susan, I'm a pantser so I don't outline. For me, it takes the fun out of the discovery of the story...and I'm kinda impatient. When I start a book, I want to start, not fiddle around for a week or so not writing. Like I said, I'm impatient.

August 1, 2008 at 7:42 AM  

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