Writing/Revising - Same coin/2 sides

I may not be the greatest writer - but I'm a pretty darn good reviser. This does not - I repeat - DOES NOT - mean that I like to revise. But, it's a necessary evil when you want to be a published author. And, well, okay - honestly, I do kind of enjoy it. I like to take what I said kind of off-the-cuff and turn it into something better - smoothed and polished.

The revising process. Do I have one? *scratches head* First off... I'm mostly like Beth (see yesterday's post), in that I'm a pantser - I like to get the whole story down post-haste. (Something NaNoWriMo is great for!) But, then I find revising the entire manuscript to be a HUGE job!

One thing I've been doing lately is... when I sit down to start writing, I reread several paragraphs back before starting in on the story. At first, I was doing that just to make sure I wasn't missing where I was headed. Now, I'm taking the opportunity to tweak and rewrite those paragraphs before I start in again. For one, it helps improve my writing (the self-editing part) and it gets me into the flow of writing more how I want to write.

That is, of course, on a small scale. On the larger scale of full-out revising - I have been known to write out index cards (one for each chapter), showing who is in the chapter and what purpose that particular chapter serves. Does it move the plot forward? Does it give important background information while doing so? How is it on character growth? Etc.

Laying out all those index cards and studying them gives me a pretty clear idea of what is working and what isn't. Where the story is lacking. Where the reader might just stop reading (boring exposition - no plot-moving action). Where I have an opportunity to give a supporting character more face time. Which character(s) might not need to be there at all.

It's a long process - but, now that I'm using Scrivener, I might figure out how to use the corkboard therein - and my dining room table could be used for dining once more!

There are as many ways to revise as there are writers and that, in my humble opinion, is what makes so many great books! I'm eagerly looking forward to a the other Leaguers' revision notes - because it's not beneath me to incorporate some of their methods into my own. I think writers are always looking for "another way" - because it keeps the writing fresh.


Christine Fonseca said...

We share a similar process, I think. I love seeing what ther people do...

Anonymous said...

Yes on the huge revision with a pantser-ed novel. That is one I am working on now. I have a document open to house all the major cuts (scenes that appear to not need to be there, but I need to be sure, so save them for just in cases) and "save as" is my friend.

Lindsay said...

I'm a pantser as well. I've just started using Scrivener. I can't believe how much easier it's made my revisions so far chapter/scene wise. Now I just need to work out the corkboard. LOL.

Julia said...

That's me with the corkboard. I sort of know how to use it... sort of... O_o

Michelle Merrill said...

I am definitely considering your note card method. It's a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

IanBontems said...

I've always fancied the look of scrivener. So far I've delayed getting it until the windows version is out of beta. I'm also curious if you can get a license that allows you to get it on both windows and Mac so I can transfer it between my two computers.

Oops, sorry for side-tracking waffle.

Index card method is useful, but pantsing it? #shudders
I'm no good without a plan.