Tag Archives: revision

Do You Enjoy Revision?

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It’s now the new year and this is the first blog I’ve written. Shame on me, but I am full of very good excuses. Happy New Year, my friends. I have just the cliche also, “Better Late than Never,” The nice thing is my well wishes comes straight from the heart.

Now on to the main point of this blog. You were asked if you enjoyed the revision of the books that you wrote or are writing. I can’t say I enjoy it much. I would never make a good editor in my mind. When I’m writing I depend heavily on my writing group at FanStory.com. I can read over a page and I do not see any of the mistakes they find for me. My mind put it down on the paper and it doesn’t let me see everything it should.

There is a article in this months The Writer magazine on Revision. The author, Bernard Malamud believes “Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing”. He also pointed out specific steps to take to help you get through the revision process. Here are his tips, but if you get the chance do read the entire article. It gives you lots of information.

  1. Wait until the first draft is complete before you edit. If you try to edit as you go it could cause problems with your imagination, momentum or maybe your creativity. This is controversial as other writers feel you aren’t writing if you don’t edit as you go. I split it I guess. I revise my chapters as I finish them. It seems to me there are always changes that can be made at anytime. You have to be careful not to get in a long long editing cycle. For some it is hard to be satisfied with their work.
  2. Revise all at once or element by element. That is a decision the writer must make. The way I revise I tend to do element by element. I have to admit that sometimes it can feel as if the job is to big to handle. At those times I get me a cup of tea and sit back from the computer. I have to admit I talk to myself in my head, (Isn’t it called thinking?) about anything other than my book. I might even get up and play with my dogs for a few minutes. Anything to get my mind away from the book.
  3. Revise the whole novel, or section by section. I know this sounds a lot like #2 but in this one he is considering sections as chapter by chapter or dividing the novel into sections. If you edit by this method you have a big opportunity to make a mistake in my view. What if you change an outcome in Chapter 2 that affects the character throughout the book. If the changes aren’t make in every section then confusion can rule.
  4. Fine-tuning versus revising. “Revision is generally distinguished from fine tuning with revision dealing with fiction elements such as character, plot and structure, and even style, and fine tuning dealing with rather minor mechanical issues.
  5. Each of us have our little rules to follow that sometimes can cause problems. When I went to school over 50 years ago we were taught very specific rules on how to write, sentence structure, correct word placement, and on and on. That can lead to rounds and rounds of revision. This is where you need that writing group or a brutally honest friend who can read your work and tell you what you need to do to make it better.

I think Bernard wrapped it up very nicely. “Put simply you write with your heart, and you edit with your head.” Happy editing. Shirley

How’s Your Title Coming Along

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Cover of "On Writing:  A Memoir of the Cr...

Cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

If you are like me, it may take some time to come up for the appropriate title for your work. It goes for anything that you want to place before the public.  I find I can think of titles, but something inside of me knows it doesn’t quite fit (I wonder if that’s my muse talking).

Sometimes the titles are correct from the start for me.  My book that was originally published in November of last year, had the title of “The Tower”.  When I did a revision of the book this year, I felt the title needed expanding.  I actually gave it a subtitle.  It is now”The Tower, A Jensen Mystery.”  The book I hope to publish this coming year is called “Dobyns Chronicles”.  I haven’t been able to come up with a new title, so it is the one that stuck (cover is designed).

If you have problems, I have found an article from Daily Writing Tips  which gives seven ways to help you find the correct title for your work.

1.  Think of adjectives, nouns and verbs which describe your work.  Write them down and then try pulling your title from them.  You can mix them around to see what works best.

2. Look for an important turning point in your novel or focus on the climax.  Describe the event on paper  Pick out the words or phrases which stand out to you.  See if something works for you for a title.

3.  Pick out novels or short stories that run in the same genre as your work.  Study the titles and how they relate to the story.  Then,  look at your project as a whole.  Think of the theme or overall message of your book.  Write down some words that go along with your theme and work them to see if you can find your title.

4.  Avoid the obvious “The” titles like “The Pink Slipper” or The Brown Dog“.  Look for a slight recurring themes or undercurrents in your novel and try naming your novel after those subtle nuances.

5.  Poets have a way of weaving words into a beautiful picture.  Read some famous poetry and write down words and phrases that stick out to you.  Song lyrics can have the same effect. You can find some powerful titles by mixing, matching and combining words from lyrics.

6.  Consult your thesaurus and look up synonyms for commonly occurring words in your novel.  Look up this synonyms in the dictionary to get a better understand of their meaning.  Use different words in context to find a combination that you like.

7.Type title generator into your search engine and see what pops up.  There are several websites that will either random titles .

I have also included a video on picking your title.  Enjoy……..

http://youtu.be/L0OJuB2yX50