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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Words to Write By: WriteOnCon Tidbits, The Revision Checklist by author Talia Vance

(You can find the full post at the WriteOnCon website: http://writeoncon.com/2012/08/the-revision-checklist-by-author-talia-vance/ It was pretty fantastic!)

I loved this post by Talia Vance. I will definitely be putting it into practice when I begin revising my WIP. 
I also look at where the plot is at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of the way points, to see if I am hitting turning points and act climaxes at about the right time.  This is a great way to analyze pacing in terms of your overall plot.  At the 1/4 point, I should be through the first act turning point, and the character should set off on the journey that will take them to the climactic scenes at the end.  At 1/2, the main character should have an emotional turning point of some kind, or make a discovery that is unexpected.  At 3/4, the character faces the darkest hour, and must regroup for the climactic scenes in the last 1/4 of the book.  These are rough points that don’t necessarily have to hit exactly, but they should be close.
This kind of specific advice is perfect for my mico-managing mind. PERFECT. She showed how to set up a table that she uses and my brain is already whirring with how mine is going to work! (And I'm a pantser by nature, seriously! And ... and I'm not even done!)

I don’t want every scene in the book to have the same pace, some moments should be drawn out, and others should be hurried.  Action scenes should be faster paced than an emotional reaction, although there should be some action in a scene with an emotional reaction, and some emotional reaction in an action scene, used sparingly of course.
I'm always saying this -- less eloquently, of course -- to people I edit for. I learned it from a great crit partner a few years ago. Action sequences should hold punch. Short sentences. Hit them with action. Emotional moments should be drawn out. Longer sentences with feeling and purpose; thoughts, feelings, senses drawing out the experience.

Line edits:  Now we’re getting into minutia.  I try to do line edits as I go through each scene in the prior revisions, but now is the time to use the find function on your word processor to look for overused words and descriptions, eliminate passive voice (not all-just what doesn’t need to be there) and cut back on gratuitous adverbs and adjectives.  This a great time to think about first lines, dialogue and dialogue tags.  This also the place for the big read through.  I read the entire manuscript through from beginning to end, on paper, making edits with a pencil.  Reading aloud is a great way to catch awkward phrasing or unnatural sounding dialogue.

Yes, yes, YES! This is advice we all need. Use search and find. Do it! You'll be shocked when Word finds over 3000 instances of "ly" and so many of them are adverbs it makes you sick! And you'll find that drat little word "was" way more often. It'll pop out like crazy. And do DO read aloud, especially dialogue. You'll find some much that you thought worked in your head, but it just doesn't.

There are some really great posts everyone needs to look over. Something to be learned every hour! :D

1 comment:

  1. This ties right in with the info in my current very most favortie book on writing: Story Engineering.

    This book has lit me up almost to the point of obsession - an obsession which I really can't afford timewise, I might add. :)

    If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

    And - long time, no see. It's nice to have a few minutes to check in on some blogs I've sorely neglected.


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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