Re-Vision Not Redraft

Lowry’s Books and More in Three Rivers Michigan is my favorite bookstore in the entire world. This is not because it is in my hometown, though that was convenient growing up, but because you can get lost in it. Imagine the wand shop in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but with endless scores of books.Bookshelf 2

While there last weekend, I picked up a book by Isaac and Janet Asimov – How to Enjoy Writing: A Book of Aid and Comfort. The cover is atrociously outdated but the content rich and filling.

One porting discusses the thrill of the revision process. Isaac explained that while writing a letter on his word processor the word ‘revision’ (alteration, correction) was hyphened to the next line and became re-vision meaning, to see anew.

This part of the book has been cemented in my mind while I consider revising one of novels. Not simply to redraft and revise which sounds arduous and monotonous but to see it anew. I write for the thrill of the thing not to bore myself out of my mind.

I plan to use this approach on my next draft. Ask what ifs of each scene and each chapter. Take a different road for a bit and see where that takes my characters.

This stirs excitement. I suppose writing is all how you look at it, just like anything in life. On my next draft, I am going to look at my book anew and have fun playing with it and, in other words, take joy in the process.

How about you? How do you see your books anew during your editing process?

Cheers,

Bob

Making Plans

It’s been a month or so since I’ve written my blog. It’s been a few more since I’ve blogged consistently. This hiatus has been an intentional one, though I have missed my writing comrades scattered across the globe.

What I’ve Been Up To

I dropped my blog for a couple of reasons. First, I was allotting all of my writing time to my blog and commenting while I was in the middle of a dramatic overhaul of my novel. This required nearly all of my writing effort and writing time. I am pleased to report that it is finished and I am doing a final grammar scrub. I hope to have it to an acquisitions editor by my thirtieth birthday on May 19th.

Also, I have written a few short stories and submitted one of them. I’ve been inspired by reading several of Ray Bradbury’s articles on writing collected in Zen in the Art of Writing. They are wonderful. I would recommend them to any writer.

My Plans

I planned on picking a new theme/platform for the blog relaunch but it’s proven difficult to find one I like. I hope to do this soon.

Over the next year, I plan to cycle my novel through a few Literary Agents and hope for some feedback.

Also, I would like to get a short story finished every two weeks and submitted to journals or websites. I plan on submitting to multiple places from literary journals to flash fiction to sci-fi/fantasy. As a writer it is good to stretch yourself and I hope to do that.

Goals
That’s a lot of goals

I want to keep my writing goals realistic as I tend to be someone with way too many plans and not enough time. If only I could figure out how to survive on an hour or so of sleep. If you have figured that out, please let me know.

All of these goals are going to be up in the air come July as we welcome a new addition to the family. My son is due at the end of July!

Overall, it has been an exciting year for writing. I look forward to more submissions and rejections.

How about you?

Have you met your writing goals?

Are you using your writing time wisely?

Cheers,

Bob

The Meticulous Edit

Lately I’ve ignored my blog. Not because I did not want to write on it, but because I am working on a self imposed deadline and I have had to dedicate all of my writing time to my novel. It’s the great tug of war between project and platform and I’ve lost. But I’m okay with that.

The joy of my novel has returned after being sucked dry by the upheaval and Editingenhancement of various plot details. Now, I’m flying through while examining each comma, period, adjective, and sentence. I’ve become a better writer and am editing faster and faster as I encounter the same mistakes. It’s like revisiting a photo album and watching yourself grow up as a writer as the novel goes along.

Here are some things that I’ve done to reduce waste. I realize the more I strip down each sentence, the better the flow of the story is.

  1. Destroy all prepositional phrases. Most of the time I realize these are unnecessary and each sentence is clearer when they are removed.
  2.  Delete long meandering paragraphs of description. I had a lot of these and they were darlings but I had to kill them. When I examine them in compared with my target audience (children 14-18), they must go. Young adult fiction has no time to wander about as it must contend with video games, online videos and the like.
  3. Look for duplicate words in the same paragraph and either cut them out or add something new.
  4. Be wary of adverbs. Excitedly, jovially, whatever-ly. I try to remove them all. However there are times when I feel they belong.
  5. Look for descriptive but non-descriptive words – large, small, box, red, dirty, bad smell and replace them with another more colorful one – gargantuan, miniscule, trunk, crimson, soiled, and pungent. Sometimes you’ll find one of these words takes the place of three.

These are just a few problems that I look for when editing and is just the tip of the iceberg. The main objective is to make each sentence as lean as possible.

If you are editing and have tips of your own, please share them in the comment section below. Otherwise, happy writing and editing.

Cheers,

Bob

Book Proposal Salvo 2.1

I wanted to take a moment and write a quick blog post about what I have been up to and explain the unannounced silence. For the last week I have been in the midst of a redraft. I sent in my chapter and proposal to the acquisitions editor last week and I was asked to send more chapters. It wasn’t because it blew his socks off but because more of my writing was needed for a sound evaluation.

Over the last week or so I have been rewriting and cutting, as I planned to do, in order to send back seven more chapters. It has been a fantastic adventure to wade this deeply into my story once again and see what is there. I was surprised to find some parts better than I expected and others much much worse. I am excited to send the chapters and take a long deserved break from staying up until 1 in the morning and getting up early (at times) to continue slogging along.

This edit sprint has helped me become a better writer. It has also caused me to fall in love with my story again and want to make to see it in print that much more. I will share what I have learned when I am done, hopefully tomorrow.

Keep writing my friends. I will keep you posted.

Cheers,

Bob