Friday, March 25, 2011

Taking Revisions to a New Level

I've realized lately that intention is important to revisions. Normally, I take the feedback from critique partners, comments from my super-critical children, and my own thoughts when reading after a rest period and try to work my novel into shape to improve it. The result is that I tend to make changes to many different aspects of the novel at one time.

This time, I'm intentionally thinking about what elements of the novel are weak, e.g. the plot, showing the emotions of the main character, or whatever, and just working on that aspect of the novel to improve it. It feels as though there is more purpose behind each change. But I worry that I'm going to overdo it with revisions.

How do you revise? Do you focus on one aspect of your novel at a time or many? Will being too intentional about the process take away from the spontaneity of the writing?


  1. I think it's when we start editing to follow the rules and slash and cut that sometimes we can strip the voice right from our work. But I don't think that will happen by trying to add emotion or strengthen plot. Good luck.

  2. I try to focus on one thing at a time, but if something else catches my eye, like a weak chapter ending, then I'm off like a dog after a squirrel, chasing all the chapter endings and forgetting that I was working on overall plot :)

  3. Jess, I've noticed that happening to me, too! Sometimes I make notes about those other things, so I remember to come back to them later.

    Laura, I hope I'm adding more emotion. I find that with later drafts, I am more inside the character's head and can bring more of them to the story.

  4. I'm all about the intentionality these days. I'm finding it really helps to reveal things that can be lost in the general flow of the story, hidden structure and well placed reveals that can make all the difference. But I also do a general read-over when I'm done with the slicing and dicing.

  5. Definitely need one intention when I revise. I have to revise with certain things in mind or else I'll be all over the place. Right now, I'm just working on new scenes, but then I'll go back and work on a specific thing for each revision run.

    Sucks, I know. But it makes for a stronger story.

    Good luck on your revisions. You can do it! :)


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