Writing – Revision

When I knew I had this major revision in front of me I put a call out to some writer friends to get their thoughts and ideas about revising a novel.  What I was able to glean, from their helpful hints and a lot of web research, is that everyone has their own way of going about it.  (DRAT! I was hoping for an easy answer!)

I got some great words of wisdom from the fabulous MG writer Deva Fagan (author of the recently released Fortune’s Folly) a few of which I would like to summarize here.  You can check out her blog where I believe she posted the longer version.

One thing she mentioned was that she keeps a file called “big cuts” where she pastes in the big chunks she removes as she’s revising.  This is helpful in case you cut something and then want to add it in later, but it’s also kind of a writer’s security blanket.  All those words are still there if you need them, and it can help you to cut more freely.

One other thing she mentioned was a little index card she keeps next to her computer which says the following things.

  1. Protagonist must protag
  2. character/setting/plot = scene
  3. What changes?  How is the story advanced?

This little card reminds her of the basics as she writes and revises and also reminds her that no matter how great the writing is, it has to be contributing to the book in one of these ways.

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One thought on “Writing – Revision

  1. Listen to her!

    I not only do what she does, I take it another step. I save everything big. If I delete more than a paragraph I save it in a file on my computer. Save, save, save! Never throw anything away!

    Why this rabid hoarding protectiveness you ask?

    Because first off, as she said, if you throw it away you’re going to regret it. I guarentee it. Second of all, even if you can’t use that scene or paragraph now, sooner or later you’ll be working on a different story and you’ll get stuck, and that scene will be perfect.

    Great example: I started writing a vampire romance novel as a sort of rant about all the cliches that were going on. The novel came out great, but I had to cut this huge scene out where she was reflecting on the beach. I saved it.

    Six months later, I got an awesome idea for people who lose their super powers, but I couldn’t figure out the perfect beginning. I took that beach scene, and all of a sudden I had one of the best short stories I have ever written.

    Never throw anything away. Don’t delete it after you’re done with the novel either. Save it and cannibalize it later for other works.

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