Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Revision Tip: Experiment, But Save It

For the month of December, I really need to concentrate on my novel revisions. So instead of my usual Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and ABCs of Writing Middle Grade Fiction I'll be posting short revision tips from various sources.

Today's Tip:

Make good use of your technology.

Since I’m writing on a computer, I easily can make as many drafts as I like and no one will see them. That gives me the freedom to try things out in a different way to see if that makes for a stronger story. I can cut out a character, add new chapters etc. Sometimes I save separate paragraphs of bits of the story that I liked but didn’t fit with my new vision. Then if I need to, I can go back to them or use them somewhere else.

Watch for:

-  save different versions of the file under a different name

-  backing up files is critical

Cool Quote: “…unless you make big changes, a revision isn’t worth doing. If you go out on a submission round and get roundly rejected, you’re not going to solve your problem by going back to the page to tweak a few words here and there.”

Mary Kole, Big Revision, December 7,2011


  1. I do the same thing and call the file 'Parking Lot'. Somethings I end up not using in the end, and other parts I do. Just somewhere else.

    Great suggestion!

    I loved Mary's quote. So true.

  2. When I reach the point where I’m just tweaking, not really revising, I know it’s time to stop. The mini-adjustments can go on indefinitely, and shouldn’t be confused with what revision is.

  3. No doubt about backing up. Then if you ever get the blue screen of death, you don't have to be completely freaking out!

  4. Yup, this is just what I do. And the day your computer won't turn on anymore, as happened to me this fall, you'll be SO grateful you backed up. The idea of losing thousands of words doesn't bear thinking about.

  5. I do the same thing Andrea. Thank goodness for computers! And I love that quote - it's so obvious and true, and yet it's hard to realize!

  6. I love Scrivener for this. I can take a "snapshot" of the current scene, then make whatever changes I want. If I'm not happy, I can "roll back" to a previous draft.



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