Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to Revise a Novel

I found this great info on how to edit your book in four steps here. The just of the article states that we can do our revising by:

1. The Close-In Writing: Write a day's worth of work. Next day, before writing anything new, revise and edit the previous day.
2. The Close-In Edit: Finish draft 1. Read and revise from beginning. This gives you draft 2.
3. The Distance (or “Hand”) Edit: Print and hand write your edits. Afterward, fix it all on computer to get draft 3.
4. The Oral Edit: Print and read entire 3rd draft aloud, making notes

Ok, that's all fine and dandy. Now what things should you look for when revising:
NITPICKY STUFF (check out this NaNoWriMo article)

  • Omit all unnecessary words.
  • Sacrifice modifiers.
  • Consider the rhythm.
  • Replace "to be" and "to have." (the dreaded was, were, had etc.)
  • Simplify tenses.
  • Spill your parenthetical (wait, we can't have thoughts in parenthesis?)
  • Avoid alliteration.
  • Rethink abstraction.
  • Use figurative language sparingly.
  • Engage all senses.
  • Cut the last sentence.

1. Does this character appear all the way through the book, or disappear with an explanation? (Death, travel, etc.) If not, does this character have a place in this book?
2. Does this character still look and act the way he did at the beginning of the book? 
3. If this scene introduces a new idea or new action, is it something that I remembered to follow through all the way to the end? 
4. Have you met the objectives of your story? 
5. Have you followed your header, chapter, and quote scheme consistently?
7. Does this scene matter? 

The Editor's Blog & Query Shark

(post contributed by Brooke Hargett)

Since I'm in the middle of editing my book, I've been focusing on things that will help me, to that end.   I've found a lot of really helpful information on The Editor's Blog and I thought I would share!

One question we've had come up in our writing group is when to use or omit italics for our character's thoughts.  I found all the answers in this post: Inner Dialogue- Writing Character Thoughts 

One thing I learned from reading her post about how to structure a Synopsis is that no matter what point of view your book is in, the synopsis should be written in third person present tense. 

In Stir Reader Curiosity she addresses the importance of giving the reader something they aren't expecting.   Here are some ways she suggests to do this: 

Encourage readers to anticipate what could happen, but give them an event or character response they couldn’t have expected, yet one so very appropriate for the story—this means you get to not only lead them, but mislead them
Create anticipation by writing a character action that requires another character’s reaction
Give characters multiple problems and setbacks—pile on the problems
Encourage readers to think—keep them involved
Raise the stakes
Give characters a reason to move faster—set a clock ticking
Introduce a new character, one who shakes up the status quo
Remove a character to take away another character’s support system
Change any major story element—don’t allow either characters or readers to grow comfortable.

I've also been reviewing a lot of the posts from Query Shark to try to flush out my query.  The query shark is brutal and honest, but its very helpful if you're not the one on the hook. :)  Its free to send in your query, and if you get picked and "chewed up" you have the chance to revise and try again.  It is very helpful to look through these!  GOOD LUCK!
Hope these tips were helpful!  See ya next time!