Day Forty-Four, and Some NaNo Wisdom Regarding Revision
Posted Feb 22 2011, 3:01 am
If you visit the NaNoWriMo website right now, they’ve got all sorts of pep talks from established authors, and lots of wise advice about revision. I’ve snagged a few of my favorite bits to share with you today as you start thinking about your next writing move post-Winter-Writing-Festival:
“Believe it or not, I LOVE revisions. It’s always easier to tinker with something that is already finished than it is to get “stuff” on that blank white screen. And that is how I think about it: all the hard work has been done, so now I get the fun of tweaking everything into line. Doing galley-proofs is tedious; revisions are the chance to get that brilliant insight in that it encapsulates your character’s personality in a single sentence.” –Mercedes Lackey
“The hardest part to revise is the first half of your novel. Don’t lose heart. You will work so hard on those first scenes, getting them right. Then as you move forward, writing and solving questions you’ve asked yourself, you’ll jump backwards to fix something you just figured out and you’ll have to make sure that the change meshes with what you’re working on. But all of this work is narrowing your egress. Your book will necessarily gain focus, and the conclusion you’re working toward will become inevitable, which will make the last part of revising feel like downhill skiing. Without the moguls or trees. Good luck!” –Rachael Herron, author of How to Knit a Love Song: A Cypress Hollow Yarn (started as a NaNo novel)
“Be open and free for the first draft, be ruthless with the structure for the second, and fanatical about the words for the third–examine every sentence. Remain true to your characters and story, but also be flexible and listen to and value feedback, see things from the reader’s point of view. Oh, and read the whole lot out loud, every draft. Get lots of pens, stickers, and index cards to make structuring fun.” Julia Crouch, author of CUCKOO. (started as a NaNo novel)
“This is the body of my advice, and I’m only going to tell you one thing (because there are lots of good writing books on revision out there, especially at the Writers Digest store). Create a compelling, distinctive voice for your main character or narrator. The voice must make the reader feel something — anything. Without the voice, you’re a candidate for the slush pile….With it, you’re a potential winner of The Man Booker Prize.” Pete Twohig, author of The Cartographer (also started as a NaNo novel)
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