Monday, October 14, 2013

A Pantser Turned Plotter Learns to Love Revising

A Pantser Turned Plotter Learns to Love Revising
Missy Tippens

I believe I’m a born pantser (for those who are new to the term, that means someone who jumps in and starts writing by the “seat of the pants”). The first few books I wrote, I did very little planning.  After about two manuscripts, I learned about GMC from Deb Dixon and did a chart before beginning. I thought some about my characters. I knew their backgrounds, even wrote a little bit of a journal in each character’s point of view (POV). But I didn’t automatically plot. I didn’t naturally feel the need to plan scenes or plot points.

But after the first couple of manuscripts got critiqued in my critique group, I realized how much work would be involved to fix those manuscripts. And I did NOT want to do that. I dreaded it. I avoided it. I sometimes went for months at a time without writing, partly because all the fun of discovery was gone. But, mainly, because the task seemed so overwhelming.

Photo credit: Crestock/creatista

So I finally decided two things:
1)   I would not get something critiqued until I had written at least half of the first draft, preferably the full first draft.
2)   I would become a plotter.

From that moment, I became The Chart Queen. I love my charts! I love all the different methods I use for planning. And I also found doing this has helped me write a synopsis as a selling tool (it’s tough to write one before you’ve written the book). Using all these tools helped make the first drafts better. I didn’t have so many big picture issues to fix. I could focus on cleaning up manuscripts, fine tuning them.

But I still dreaded that part. Once I completed a manuscript, I was sick of it. I didn’t want to go back and keep re-working it. I couldn’t believe it when people told me they dreaded the first draft and loved revising once it was done.

WHAT IN THE WORLD??!! Who wouldn’t love the fun first draft? Who could ever enjoy revising??

Well, 6 books after leaving the island, I finally find myself looking forward to revising that first draft. Yes, Missy Tippens has just said the unthinkable.

I’m excited because now I get to go back and make it better. I get to play with ideas I’ve had during the writing and get go back to work them in (things that will make my theme stronger, things that will show character growth better, scenes that will show stronger characters acting toward their goals).

If I can learn to love revising, you can too. Here are some suggestions:

Photo credit: Crestock/ElinaManninen

**First and foremost: Think of revising as time to put the icing on the cake. Time to perfect your story. I’ve found a change of attitude can work wonders. You are no longer allowed to think of revising as TORTURE. :) Think of it as your best writing tool. (Again, if I can do this, anyone can.)

**Work through your choice of plotting charts/programs/books. You’ll come up with new ideas to add and enhance. If you’re a plotter, you may do this before you start. I suggest doing it again afterward to add depth. If you’re a pantser, you’ll probably only do this after you finish. I’ve also found this helpful while writing the draft.

On my current manuscript, I got stuck about a third of the way into the story. I found I had already written what, according to my synopsis, was supposed to be the mid-point. I was bored with the story and couldn’t figure out why. About that time, I heard someone recommend James Scott Bell’s Knockout Novel program (click here to check it out), so I bought it and took a week to work through it. I LOVED it. I found a new direction to go with the story (added a new character and plotline) and also found many ways to add to the scenes I already had written or planned (that enhanced theme and characterization). I came up with concrete ideas that were easy to incorporate into the story. Now that I’m re-reading my completed manuscript, I’m going back to make sure I’ve added everything.

Photo credit: iStock_0000116782

**Put on your editor hat. Become Super Editor!

This has been one of the hardest lessons for me since I left the island. I was stuck in Author World, the world of creativity, discovery, fun. But when it comes to revising, you need to set that aside and read your story objectively. Try to read it as if it’s the first time you’ve seen it. I know this is difficult, but if you can set it aside for a few days or even weeks, it’ll make the job much easier.

Even if you don’t have time to set the manuscript aside, try to read it like a fresh reader. And be tough on yourself. No mercy. Ask:
Is this exciting? Is it un-put-downable? Or am I falling asleep? (That is not a joke! I’ve fallen asleep reading my draft before. Hard to admit but true.)
Do I care about these characters, really care? Or could I shut the book and not give them another thought? Worse, do I want to smack them for being TSTL (too stupid to live)?
Does the story feel as if it’s moving toward some big bang of a conclusion? Am I worried about how it will turn out? Or do I feel as if I’m gently walking through town without a care in the world, enjoying cute scene after cute scene (recognize episodic writing?)?
Is the conflict escalating? Or are the hero and heroine rehashing the same things scene after scene? (Sticky notes help here! Mark the progression of the conflict as you read, noting how it has changed. Do this for external, internal and romantic conflict.)

Is each scene set clearly and am I anchored? Can I envision the details of the setting and the characters—without them being over-done?

Does the story feel as if it’s gone full circle? Is the ending satisfying? Did the characters resolve the story the best way possible for these particular characters (facing their worst fear)? Does the ending fit with the theme/premise to make it shine?

So… Change the attitude, enhance your story by revisiting/working through your favorite how-to programs or books, and ask the tough Super Editor questions. Then you’ll be on the way to making your book the best it can be.

Don’t forget to visit the giveaway page for details on our birthday celebration! Easy peasy commenting gives you entries for the iPad mini and the weekly prizes. Here's this week:

Click photo for details.

And I’m offering another prize today! I’ve had so much fun doing the phone chats that I’ve decided to offer a Mentoring Package that will include phone chat, email and first-chapter critique. Details will be given to the winner. You must let me know if you want to be entered by stating so in the comments. I'm looking forward to working with one of you!

So the big question now… Are you ready to love revising? :)

Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, is the author of six books for Love Inspired and nominated for a Romance Writers of America 2013 RITA®  Award. Her most recent from Love Inspired, Georgia Sweethearts was an April 2013 release. Visit Missy at on Twitter and 


  1. I guess I am one of the weird ones who is looking forward to finishing my rough draft (12,000 words to go, give or take). Probably because this will be the first time I've completed a full-length story. Probably because I actually TOLD my family I was writing a book, and now they are waiting to hear I'm finished (Ha!). Probably because I had to scrap 40,000 words when I realized my plot needed major changes.

    I. Need. To. Win. This. Prize.
    Like, for real.
    Lord willing, I'll start revising next week. . .should be interesting. Allow me to repeat, I could most definitely, without a doubt, use that mentoring package.

    Ya know, 'cause of course no one else does. LOL.

    Okay, I've stayed up long enough. Gotta sleep and be ready to write, write, write come mornin'.

  2. Hi Missy,

    This was a really interesting post and very timely for me.

    You've got me curious about Knockout Novel. I'd actually never even heard of it. I looked at the website, but could you explain a bit more how you use it?

    Thanks. I'd definitely like to be in your drawing!

  3. I'm growing as a plotter after several efforts at panster life landed me in a mess.

    I would love to win the mentoring package and learn more about all your charts. Great topic!

  4. I neeeeed to learn how to plot. Desperately. And I just bought James Scott Bell's PLOT AND STRUCTURE, so it looks like I'm in the right place.

  5. I'm not at the revision stage yet, but definitely going to check out Hiveword and Knockout Novel. Thanks for a great post, Missy!

  6. Yep hate the first draft...torture, like pulling fingernails. and then revising is much nicer, I'd rather play with words on a page rather than put them there.

    the best part is just plain being done!!! :)

  7. I'm like Missy [used to be?] - I LOVE the first draft, the discovering, all of that.

    I DON'T love the editing/revising/whathaveyou. I like having done it - being done and having a "finished" product, but not the actual doing part. I'm getting better about it though.

    As for plotting... I just took some Benadryl for the hives... :D

  8. Hi Missy:

    Everything you’ve said about not wanting to revise is true for me. But I think I have come to an understanding for the first time as to what is wrong. It’s not about not knowing how to make the story better. The problem is about knowing how to make what you wrote better.

    When I do a first draft I can see my progress. I can see how far I have come. I can anticipate with confidence that soon I will be typing “The End”. All this fits nicely into a motivation/ reward cycle.

    Revisions are not like this. There is no end in sight like there would be in starting a new novel. When you are actively learning how to write, and this can take many years, you find yourself learning so many things so quickly that each time you go over your manuscript you see many ways to improve it. Look how many great ways you listed for improving a manuscript. Each time you grow in your writing skill set you know that more revisions are needed. Even editing 5,000 words for a writing contest can lead to many changes each time you ‘finish’ an edit.

    Perhaps when your skill set arrives at the published professional level, then your revision quest can become manageable. You’re no longer ‘seeing’ ten new ways to make the writing better per se as you did in the rapid learning period. At this level you are looking for actual defects that need to be improved – these are the ones you mentioned.

    At this professional skill level you find the problems and do the fixes. It also helps in ‘loving it’ if you know your work is going to be published.

    To look down the endless road of revisions with no certainty of publication at the end, if there is an end, can make doing revisions almost unbearable.

    And then we hear the tales of the writer who spent 10 years revising the same novel and finally had it published only to have nothing else in the works to show an editor.

    Why wouldn't one think that, "maybe I should write more books as I learn and then, when my skill set is accomplished enough to get published, at that point I can go back and revise those twenty first draft manuscripts and be popping out four books a year?"

    You may have learned to love revisions only at the point when your writing skills made it possible to ‘see’ the end in sight.

    Howevre, when you believe that the revisions are endless, like Sisyphus pushing his huge rock up the hill only to have it roll back down again for all eternity, then revisions are not so loveable.

    From your example, I believe there is hope. That I too will one day learn to love revisions. It just may take me twenty different first drafts to get to that point. I am on the second draft of two books right now...but I’m not loving it. But no one says a woman has to love labor in order to love the baby.


    Please put me down for mentoring package. I’ve still got a long way to go.

  9. I picked up an old story a while back and it needed a lot of work and was a little boring. It made me happy though, to know it was still mine, it was still my work and I could change anything I wanted to make it better.
    And it was still mine.

  10. I'm a panster with some plotting done only in my mind when I'm away from the keyboard. I would love to move into the realm of a full-blown plotter though. Right now I have a couple WIP and I need help to know if I'm going the right direction. I could use the mentoring package. A little nervous though... :)

    Happy Birthday and Happy Day in Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  11. Love editing for others. For me? Not so much. This post is great for changing my perspective.

    Thanks, Missy, for the suggestion you work through books AFTER as well. Duh. It seems so simple a thing to do but I can see how this would help.

    I am a panster who has vowed never to put on my pants until I've plotted ever again. You've helped me figure out how to reform.

    Peace, Julie

  12. Hi Missy,

    I'd love to be entered in the contest.

    I just pulled out one of my older stories last night that needs revising. (I usually write, then revise and send through crit group in small chunks then let it rest.)

    It's been long enough to look at it with fresh eyes and try to see if I can revive it.

    Thanks for the encouragement and helpful tips!

  13. Loved this post! I started the challenge from the other day. I had started a manuscript, but then stopped. When I started again, I wanted to start with the 500 words a day. Wrote over 1000. I am now 15,000 words into it. The big step was starting to write it, then telling people I was writing. Even if it never goes anywhere, I'm having fun. I love editing for others. Words already written are must easier to manipulate! Once I get to the end of mine, I will enjoy going back and reworking it. I'm loving all the charts and spreadsheets used for writing. I had no idea! I like clicking the third tab over. Wonder what that means? Something I'm sure! Thanks for the great post.
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  14. MISSY, thank you for this post. I sued to be resistant to revision because I only saw my work through my own eyes. Now I'm looking at it through a possible agent's eyes, and one day an editor's. I'm excited about making my work the best it can possibly be.
    VINCE, love the analogy of Sisyphus. That's the dark side of revision, especially if you don't have a contract or an agent. You really don't know where this is going to end up. It's definitely the dark part of the journey.
    I'm a plotter, but I may do a little "pantsing" in November for my NANO experiment. Anything to get through it. I have an outline, but it's not as detailed as I usually have. This could be interesting.
    Never one to turn down mentoring, please put me in the drawing.
    Kathy Bailey

  15. Oh, dear. I said I "sued" to be resistant to revision. I meant "used."

  16. Okay, I am going to check out that knock out novel program you mentioned for sure.

    Since I've moved from pantser to plotter, I've noticed my manuscripts are so much cleaner and I've started to love revising, too. It's not so overwhelming anymore. It took me a year to revise my last pantser novel and only a month to revise my last plotted novel. That's much more time efficient.

    Me, me, me! I want to be entered to win your most generous prize!

  17. LOL, Missy ... I have a confession to make ... I have a serious problem with revising ... I love it!!


    SO MUCH that it slows my writing down, but honestly, I'm one of those anal and emotional CDQ types who canNOT go on in a story unless I feel emtionally connected to it, so that means that I HAVE to feel good about the last scene I wrote. Which means I revise, revise, revise till I get it right.

    Sick, I know. And realllly not the way you should do it, I'm told.

    I'm currently in therapy. :|

    Great post, sweetie!!


  18. another wonderful posting :)

    Happy Monday!!!

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  19. Good morning, everyone! Coffee's on...

  20. LOL, Courtney! I've got you entered. :)

    Don't you love how everything changes when you tell your family you're writing a book? I think we become more determined. :)

    Good luck finishing! I cried the first time I wrote The End. And the second, and the third. Enjoy it!

  21. Mary, it's an online, guided system for plotting. It asks you questions, and as you answer them you come up with character backstory, goals, ect. There's actually a trial you can try. You have to be online to do it, but you can print out your results.

    I printed mine and have been reading and re-reading it as I finished and revise my book, making sure I've included everything I want to include. If figured out my perfect ending using Knockout Novel.

    Got you entered!

  22. Terri, you sound like me. Without any plotting, I went down lots of bunny trails, and then I'd end up doing more work (which, as I said, overwhelmed me).

    But I know people who thrive on being able to wander down those trails. It works perfectly for them to discover as they go. We're all different!

    I've got you entered.

  23. Laurie, good morning! Yes, I have that book. You're going to love it. I need to dig it out and re-read it. I honestly need to review my favorite how-to books each time I start a new book.

    Usually, I'm so excited to start a new story, though, that I'm chomping at the bit to get started! I sometimes have a hard time working through my charts, etc. :)

  24. Good morning, Jan! If you try it, you'll have to let me know what you think.

  25. See, Melissa is one of THOSE people!! hahaha

    Come on, how can you not love that first draft??! :) But I have to agree that the best part is probably being done. Of course, then I'm always a little sad to leave the characters.

  26. Missy,

    Thanks for the great post. I agree, the pure punster approach does tend to lead to more revisions later, so I do try to at least, jot some things down about the direction of the story after I allow myself a few chapters of "freedom." Thanks for the new mention of a craft book--love those!


  27. LOL, Carol! No, no Benedryl! Come on, try the positive attitude I mentioned! :) It's not torture. No Benedryl needed. (grin)

  28. Autocorrect made me say punster--I meant panster of course, but maybe they are related in some way when you consider how much revising you may have to do later...

  29. Vince said: But no one says a woman has to love labor in order to love the baby.

    Missy says: hahaha! So true!

    You know, Vince, I think maybe (I don't know this, but MAYBE) the difference this time is that I'm finally learning to set aside my emotional attachment to a story to put on my editor hat. I think maybe that's what has made the difference this time.

    Plus, I'm using self talk like: "Now I GET to make it better!" I've learned that positive self talk works well with me. :)

  30. Mary Cline, that's such a good point! Take that baby and learn to love it no matter what shape it's in. You worked hard for that draft!

    Have fun making it the story you want it to be!

  31. Columbus Day is a weird holiday seeing as it's based on misconceptions. I'm just sayin'.
    But it comes in handy when you want to look at leaves -- or rake them.

  32. Cindy W, don't be scared! :) I promise to be encouraging and to offer help to the winner. No judging or pushing too hard. :)

    I've got you entered. No backing out now! ;)

  33. Isn't self-discovery wonderful? I love your process of becoming a plotter. I'm still straddling the fence, unwilling to give up my pantser ways, LOL!

    I'm off to check out Jim Bell's program. Anything that can organize my mind is worth the time and effort!!

  34. Julie, I'm glad it was helpful. Did you vow to plot because of writing yourself into corners or because of getting overwhelmed with revisions?

  35. Writing the first draft is painful for me. I prefer revising.

    I just finished the first revision of my rough draft yesterday and am looking forward to at least three more times through before my deadline in December.

  36. You just nailed me. A pantster that hates editing. I want the same epiphany as you. Enter me for that mentoring.
    Houseful of Hope is my favorite Missy book so far.

  37. Jackie, it's great that you've had time away from your manuscript. That makes a huge difference. Fresh eyes and some distance can help us be more objective.

    Good luck with it! I've got you entered.

    BTW, I probably haven't told everyone who entered that I have you entered. But I do! I'm writing names down to put in the hat (no gross cat dish like Ruthy!) LOL

  38. Missy, I loved this. I always thought (before I finished my first rough draft) that I would love the revising and editing phase. But, like you, I LOVE when I'm sitting down to write that first draft and the story comes alive through my finger tips! :)

    I love your tips and questions! I'm closing in on "The End" for my current WIP, so I'm planning to take your suggestions and run with them—right into revisions! :) LOVE this!!

    Please, oh, PLEASE put me into the drawing for your prize. :)

  39. Yay, Sally!! Good for you for jumping in and holding yourself accountable! You'll be finished before you know it. And the people you've told will be so proud.

    Good point that words already written are easier to manipulate. :)

  40. First, happy birthday, Seekerville!

    Missy, I loved this post! I, too, became a lover of charts and plotting tools. I try new things with each book. It's fun! And revising isn't as horrible as it used to be because I no longer am under the delusion that I'll ever write a perfect first draft! :)

    Please enter me in the drawings!

  41. Kathy B. you and Vince made a good point. I think it probably is tougher to revise if you don't have a contract yet. You wonder if all the work is worth it. I have two thoughts about that.

    1. It is worth is to make the book the best it can be. It could be the one that sells or is ready to publish.

    2. But don't spend too much time on it. Especially if you're a new writer. It's probably better to move on and write a second, then a third story, and on and on. I think we learn more on each new story. Probably more than we learn on the second and third and fiftieth draft of the same story.

  42. Annie, you sound just like me! I took 3 years writing and revising one of my early manuscripts (the one that ended up selling). Of course, that involved entering a ton of contests and making revisions after each round of feedback.

    There are many stages along this wonderful journey! And each journey is different.

  43. Missy, this is a really good post! I've come to realize that plotting is in my future. And my nature is NOT to plot.
    I have the writing program Storyist which is like Scrivener. It helps in plotting but has the same mean learning curve. Ugh.
    Plotting's no fun to me, but it's kinda like real life. When we pantster through life we quite ofter have to go back every now and then and clean up a mess. :-)

  44. LOL, Julie! Well, it apparently works for you, so don't listen to a word I said, you Drama Queen you. :)

    Chart Queen or Drama Queen. Take your pick! ;)

  45. Thanks, Karen K! Happy Monday to you, too. Hard to believe the weekend is over.

    What did y'all all do this past weekend??

  46. Piper, I think it's a great idea to jot down ideas while writing. That keeps the flow going. I started a TO DO list file. :)

  47. LOL, Piper. I noticed that! Is your subconscious speaking?? ;)

  48. Oh me, I forgot to ask you to please put my name in for the Mentoring Package! :-)

  49. Kathy, I had forgotten today is Columbus Day!

    Enjoy raking those leaves. :)

  50. Audra, I think it's possible to be a bit of both. I think that's kind of what I am. I'm learning to blend them together.

    I do all my charts and come up with my synopsis. But then I discover as I write, only plotting out scenes 3 or so at a time. That allows for some new directions and fun.

  51. Good for you, Rose! It sounds as if you'll be in great shape for having it done in time!

  52. Missy,
    Wonderful post! I'm a planner, so when I deviate from my synopsis it really bothers me. Kinda like off-roading. I'm a stay-on-the-path girl. lol What inspires me to revise is reading great books. When I read one where an author does a wonderful job with details or chemistry etc, I'm eager to go back to my manuscript and make it shine. It's like a challenge. I'll have to check out that book you recommended.

  53. Thanks, Cindy! I'm glad you liked it. I had so much fun writing that one. (of course, I probably say that for every book. LOL)

    I've got you entered!

  54. Jeanne, isn't it fun to sit down with that blank page and get started? Granted, it can be intimidating, too. But I love that excitement of the new and undiscovered.

  55. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Jill!

    You know, I agree. If we allow ourselves to write a truly rough first draft, then it takes some of the pressure off. Good point!

  56. Great article, Missy! I'm in the midst of my rough draft and it's pretty difficult for me. I like revising a lot but will definitely admit that my rough drafts are ROUGH. lol
    I've thought about charting or plotting but that does take some of the fun out. At the same time, it also gives me something to write toward when I feel stuck. It's a balancing act. Heh.
    Thanks for sharing your tips!

  57. Wonderful post, Missy. I thought I was a plotter starting out, then I realized I was closer to a pantser. Although I needed to be more of a plotter :)

    I won a book on Seekerville called 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron. What a help! I still write slower than most people because I edit as I write (that's my process and it works, so I'm sticking to it) But having a more structured plot ahead of time has doubled my output.

  58. Hi Missy,

    I'm with you! I LOVE the first draft - the creating something out of nothing! Not so great at the revising - which I'm about to go do soon and I'll be having a lot more of that to come! So I'd better learn to love it!

    Thanks for the tips!


  59. Hi Missy

    My journey has been much like yours. I'm a plotter, a scene by scene plotter. I've never actually followed an outline though. It's like getting lost in the mall and going back to the map to see where you're at. I like editing. Finding that perfect word makes my day. But revisions are harder than writing a rough draft because you have to decide what to throw out and what to add.

    Yes, please enter me. Who wouldn't want to pick the brains of someone who's been there and done that.

  60. Missy- like you, once I've finished the draft, I get bored with the story. In my mind it's done. But, after my first book (which I can admit now was a mess) I figured out that I really do prefer plotting my stories better.

    One trick I've found to help me read my story fresh is to format it and put it on my kindle so I can read it like a reader. I actually enjoyed reading it, and I could tell as a reader which scenes were dragging the pace of my story down. I knew just how to fix it too.

    I would love to be in your drawing. I've just started a new story, and would love an impartial opinion.

  61. Mary H., I use Scrivener but am not familiar with Storylist.

    Well, I say I use Scrivener. I haven't mastered it for actual writing. I use the cork board with index cards for plotting. :)

  62. Karen K, I agree! I get inspired by really great books. Although, sometimes I get discouraged, because I assume the book came out in perfect condition, and that the author has some amazing innate talent. Well, they probably do have the talent. But I bet they also work on those drafts, revising and polishing! :)

  63. Jessica, definitely a balancing act! And I think we have to develop our own best system. Which takes trial and error. :)

    I'm kind of a blend, I guess. Plan enough to write a synopsis for a proposal. But then feel my way through the draft letting it go where it will within my framework.

  64. Mmmmm, I smell coffee!!

    I should set out a nice breakfast buffet! Coffee with pumpkin spice creamer. Hot tea for those of you who hate coffee. And DIET DR. PEPPER for those of you out there who love it like I do. :)

  65. I am currently doing the first round edits in the book I just finished. I tend to write action only the first round, almost just a bare plot, then go back in and add feelings, thoughts, emotions. That's the hardest part of writing for me. It's not so much that I dread it, I just find it the hardest part of writing for me.


  66. Sherri, I'll check that book out because I'm really slow. But I do think I could speed up. I also edit while I go (and always will). But I'm just so darn slow anyway! I agonize over every little word. I need to save that perfect word choice stuff for revising. :)

    Thanks for reminding me of that book!

  67. I love everything Jim Bell does, I'll have to check out his Novel program. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  68. At first I dislike revising because it means I have to admit my manuscript isn't good enough and that I don't know how to fix it. Once I get an idea of how to make it better, I love revising.

    I'd love to be in your drawing!

  69. Sue, I hope the tips help now that YOU SOLD AND WILL BE REVISING FOR EDITORS! (big huge grin!) :) :)

  70. Elaine, that is a tough part! It's not easy to decide to throw things out. I always copy and paste it into another document that I call "Cuts." Then I know it's safely there in case I realize I need to add it back in. :)

    You know, on my last book I did go rescue a part of a scene!

  71. Dianna, that's a great tip! I was recently critiquing for Lindi and put her book on my Kindle. It really does read like a book!

    BTW, I just realized I spelled your name wrong on the Faith blog with the photos I posted from M&M! I went back and fixed it. I'm sorry!

  72. Hallee, I used to joke that my first drafts were talking heads! I did mostly dialogue. But I'm learning to fill in as I go. Am getting better so I don't have to do so much work on revising.

    Yes, there really are people who don't like coffee! LOL Can you believe it??

  73. Knockout Novel sounds like my kind of program.

    Thanks. I appreciate all the Seekerville tips as I figure out which way of writing works best for me.

  74. Edie, I hope you find it works for you! I really liked using it. Will use it before (instead of in the middle) of my next book.

  75. Great post, Missy! This is definitely going in my editing article list.
    I have an internal editor that makes my writing very slow. Then I usually go back for a first round of edits chapter by chapter as I'm still writing the book so that I can submit it to my crit group, then I do one last round of editing (the big'un) before I submit.
    Like you, I think I am more naturally a pantser, but I've ended up somewhere in the middle, and that continues to morph as I progress in my writing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  76. Hi Missy,

    I edit as I go because it is less intimidating. Hopefully I will get better at editing larger amounts.

    Your editing questions will help a lot! Please enter me. Thanks!

  77. Missy, when I first started writing I was a panster and my progress was oh so slow. Now I'm a plotter although I don't always stick to my outline. But it keeps me from following too many rabbit trails.

    I'm like Julie -- it's so hard not to edit as I go along. But I try to keep moving forward.

    Those cupcakes look delicious! It's only 9:08 but I could eat all of them right now. Who needs to wait for lunch?

  78. Our Mutual Friends (is this Liz?), I have you entered! :)

  79. CaraG, we're all different. And I suggest trying different methods to figure out what works best for you. You may be a blend. :)

  80. Amber, I'm glad it was helpful! I hope the tips help when you get to revising the whole enchilada. :)

  81. Donna, you can do it!

    You know, truthfully, looking at the whole mss can be overwhelming for me. I have a hard time with the big picture. But I'm getting better at it. Practice make perfect!

  82. Cara, I edit as I go, too! I can't help it. I usually go back and read the previous scene or two each day when I start writing. And of course, I fix things. That's probably part of what slows me down. But I just have to get back in the flow.

  83. I am looking forward to revising my entire manuscript because as I've been writing and revising chapter-by-chapter I've seen some new big-picture themes that I want to work in...and I think I'm becoming not so much a pantser as I thought!

  84. Hi Missy:

    Self-talk is great as long as you only have one self and it doesn’t talk back.

    I can just hear my self now: "Who do you think you're kidding? This is me your talking to."

    Revising made me think of a short scene:

    Two soldiers are out on maneuvers digging a field latrine when one says to the other: “Don’t you just love, soldiering?”
    And the other says, “I’ll love it a lot more when I make General.”

    Life is harder when you’re a writing grunt. When does the next promotion list come out? I bet Debby knows. : )


  85. Missy,

    I HATE revising. I don't want to think about it. I love dreaming up stories. Then I halfway get the idea on paper. Isn't that good enough?

    And torture is a good way to describe it.

    Please throw my name in the hat for the mentoring.

    I'm near the end of my current ms and should have been through several months ago. Black moment should be fun, but it's not.

    I keeping telling myself to pretend each chapter is the first chapter and I'm entering it into a contest. That helps a little.

  86. Thank you, Missy! Your Super Editor questions have my creative thoughts racing. Please enter me for a mentoring package!

  87. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I salute you, Missy, but NOTHING anyone says or does is ever going to change this pantser into a plotter!!!!

    Okay, I've learned to think through enough of a story to write a very, VERY general synopsis I can include with a proposal and three chapters. Just please don't ask me to do snowflakes or outlines or charts.

    (I do make an exception with GMC charts because those are really helpful for figuring out who my characters are and what they want.)

    And I do enjoy the revision stage--always have. It's my chance to layer in foreshadowing and other details to add depth and believability.

  88. Good morning Missy! HOW did you know this post is exactly what I needed today? Seriously--I'm kind of "stuck" right now on a manuscript I'm re-writing, and have gotten very frustrated. And yes...I'm basically a pantser who is really TRYING to plot *sigh*. So your post is just what I needed today (and will be re-reading and applying as I work through this manuscript).

    Please enter me in your Mentor package drawing (you are so kind to offer that).

    I've brought a warm peach cobbler, peach muffins, and Georgia pecan pie today, for anyone needing a dessert or snack. They're setting out on a table that I've decorated for Columbus Day (little cardboard cut-outs of Columbus and his 3 ships). I guess it's pretty obvious I was a kindergarten teacher in my former life, LOL.

    Hugs, Patti Jo

  89. Patti Jo,

    I'll take some of the Georgia Pecan Pie.

  90. I'm not a writer but sure do enjoy the writing y'all do! :-) That being said, a student at my school is going to ask me to read and critique a story she's writing for a contest. The questions you posted will come in handy when reading/editing/commenting/not-sure-what-my-job-is on her story. Thanks!

  91. I have plotted before.
    I can do it.

    I don't know why you are picking on me, Missy.

    You are so mean to me.

  92. I remember Ruthy saying to me once when I was fretting about not revision enough, how I used to (before I was published) go over and over and over a manuscript. Why not? heaven knows I had years to revise!!!!!
    And now I just don't have the time to do that and maybe the books aren't as good because of that.
    But Ruthy said, hopefully you're better. Hopefully I'm writing now about five or six revisions in, right?
    So it's not like I NEED to go over it ten times. Because maybe, hopefully, my skill has increased enough I can skill the first five or six or seven revisions and only two maybe THREE and have a book that's just as good.

    I sure want that to be true.

    This has very little to do with your plotter vs panster topic.

    Ignore me.

  93. Not even noon and 90-plus comments!!!

    Great post, Missy! I love to In the beginning, I thought the first draft needed to be picture perfect. Imagine how long it took me to write that first chapter!

    Now I use my AlphaSmart to move quickly through the story and then go back to polish...and shine...and rework...and delete...and add...and rearrange...

    You get the idea! :)

    I was a pantser when I wrote my first manuscript. Since then, I've been a plotter.

  94. Susan C, good for you! It does feel good to eventually see the big picture. That's the hardest part for me.

  95. Vince! hahaha! So true. The problem with writing is we never get to the point where we have someone else do the basics for us! Wouldn't it be nice, though? :)

    Now I'll be laughing all day, thinking of you talking to yourself. :)

  96. Connie, I always take a little glee in my black moment. I wonder if that's mean of me? LOL

    One thing that always helped me with the black moment was something I learned from Deb Dixon in a workshop she taught at RWA. It was called Climbing the Slippery Slope. So think of your whole story building toward that moment when your main character slips off that slope (the black moment). Everything you write builds toward that moment.

    It sure helped me to look at it like that.

  97. I'm glad they helped, Sherida! They're exactly what I'm working on right now. :)

  98. Myra, I'm not trying to turn you into a plotter! I'm just making suggestions for people who hate revising like I always have. :)

    It sounds like you already love revising, so I don't need to work on you! :)

  99. Patti Jo, thanks for bringing peach goodies and table decorations! Yes, I love how teachers tend to do the cute decorations automatically. :)

  100. Rina S, I'm glad it'll be helpful for you! Thanks for being a reader!

  101. Mary, I'm not trying to change anyone today! I am talking more about learning to accept and love revising. And about how I've finally learned to love it.

    You do what you do naturally. Do not change! But I think you're right about the number of revisions becoming less and less as we learn to write better first drafts. I used to do about 10 read-throughs. Now it's more like 5.

  102. Yes, Debby. It's definitely polishing, shining and rearranging that's going on. :) I think maybe the word revising scares people. Maybe we should just call it polishing. :)

  103. I'm a born pantser as well. Great post as always Missy (the author of this great new book I'm reading)! I agree that polishing sounds much nicer than revising!

    Please enter my name in the hat.

  104. What a great post. By the way, Happy Birthday to all you Seekerville ladies 6 years, that's quiet an accomplishment.

  105. Missy,

    I intend to have more fun w/the black moment. Should be one of the easiest chapters because of the high emotion. I think I'm just being whiny because I'm ready to be through.

    Your words are encouraging though, that it's all how look at it. I believe that.

  106. I am a pantser, though I do plan things out ahead a little.

  107. Jamie, thank you! I hope you enjoy the story. :)

  108. Okay, kids are home for fall break and starving! I'll catch up when I get back. (yes, I'm going to drive through somewhere). :)

  109. Wowza. It's not noon in the midwest, but Missy, you have 102 comments! Guessing this is a hot topic. It sure is for me right now. Great tips.

    Are you using Hiveword, too? I'm so intimidated by the computer. I know it seems irrational, since I use it EVERY day, but I've had four major crashes in eight years that have wiped off all my data, so I'm terrified of trusting it. The question is, can I print all of this stuff out as I use it?

  110. Polishing our polishing silver. Hmmm...which I need to do. I'm seeing a future blog post. Is your silver tarnished? What about your manuscript. Polish both with these handy tips from Seekerville! :)

  111. I personally would give away my chocolate stash for a chance at Missy's mentoring package.

    Unfortunately Seekers are not eligible for prizes, which really, really stinks.

  112. 9 out of 10 times writing by the seat of your pants is done by beginners before they figure out there really is supposed to be a rhyme and a reason for what's happening. When I wrote my first stuff it seemed like a breeze--until I figured out how bad it was. lol

    I plan out my conflict and plot points and know my characters before I begin, but I have no idea what goes into each chapter. I tried to plan chapters once, but drew a complete blank and never went there again.

  113. MISSY it's so nice to read about someone who actually enjoys revising. I always have ... and when I read about all the people who dread it, I wondered what was wrong with me. Well ... I wondered if the fact I liked revising was one more of the things that was wrong with me.

    Wonderful tips, especially about reviewing the manuscript like a fresh reader. I dug out a story I hadn't read in several years and was as surprised by how good some sections were as I was embarrassed by how wretched some sections were. Did I REALLY send that in to a contest? :-)

    Please, please enter me in the drawing for the mentor package. What an incredibly generous offer!

    Nancy C

  114. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Katrina!

  115. Connie, I know how tough it can be when you get near the end. I'm often just ready to be done. :)

  116. Hi, Bookishqueen! Glad you stopped by.

  117. Lyndee, no wonder you're scared to use your computer! I'd be paranoid after that many crashes.

    Yes, you can print it. I only printed once at the end, but I imagine you can print as you go. And on Hive, everything is stored online. So as long as your computer up and running, you can get to the stuff you've entered.

  118. Hi Missy:

    I think this post is going to need a part II!

    As someone born with two plotter genes, I can tell you that revising is an equal opportunity annoyance. Revisions rain on plotter and pantser parades alike.

    Now as far as comparing revising to polishing household things remember this: you don’t polish marble floors.

    I’m not the best source for revision wisdom right now. I’ve spent the last month revising my real estate courses because of major changes in the law come November 1st. It’s painfully demanding work and it does not pay one cent extra for all your time and effort. And the deadlines are really scary.

    Yes, I think a part II would be just the thing.

    Have you thought about how you might revise this first post? : )

    Back to my revisions. (Duties that cannot be waived.)


  119. Tina, we can trade packages and mentor each other. You can kick me in the rear, and I'll be your cheerleader. Hey, wait! That's kind of what we do already! :)

  120. Cheryl, it sounds like you're like me. I leave room for discovering the actual scenes as I write--all within the plot skeleton in the synopsis. I think that's what helps keep from doing unneeded work, that plot skeleton that gives us something to aim for. I can write toward the next big plot point.

  121. Missy, I forgot to add that I appreciate this: "I would not get something critiqued until I had written at least half of the first draft, preferably the full first draft." I decided the same thing a couple of years ago. Beta readers and critiquers have their place (heaven bless them one and all), but I also realized how skewed my manuscript became when I didn't trust my basic writerly-instincts.

    Nancy C (who has also fallen asleep reading her own manuscript LOL)

  122. LOL, Nancy. Yeah, I've re-read some of my stuff and been appalled. But I've also reread passages I liked and thought, "Hey, did I write that?" :)

  123. LOL, Vince. YES! I always think of ways to revise posts! I lay in bed the night they post and fret. I'm serious! I can't sleep the night I know a post is going up. I worry that it's not good enough. I worry that I'll offend someone. I worry that it's not fun or funny enough. I worry that I don't know enough to give advice.

    Oh, boy. There's my next post for you! Middle of the night author fretting! :)

    Good luck on your revising. How dare they change the laws!

  124. Nancy C, I feel the same. Bless my critiquers! But I also realized how much of my story forms as I go. I usually end up going back and adding and changing. So those poor critiquers don't need to see the first drafts. They're going to change a lot anyway.

    Plus, I don't get so overwhelmed writing and rewriting the same chapters.

  125. Hi MISSY. Wow a lot of people want that fantastic package. Great prize.
    I love the revising. It is my favorite part. Probably because I am so left brain. LOL

  126. Sandra, I've heard people talk about left and right brain parts of writing. But I never can remember which is which! LOL

  127. Missy--Great blog! I am wrapping up my latest LI and I'm almost choking at the amount of revisions I'm going to have to do. It's the book that will never get finished.

    Thanks for your thoughts and perspective and the hope you've just given Pantser Nation!

  128. Kristen, I know how that feels! I have a hard time stopping revising and sending anything in. It's never done.

    And I never read my printed books because I would want to fix everything. :)

  129. Hi Missy,

    Thanks for the great tips! I'm not completely sure which camp I fall into. With the little bit of writing I have completed, I probably fall in with the plotters. Am going to check out the Knockout Novel Program. Sounds like something I could get into. Please enter me into the drawing.

    Lyndee H......I can totally relate to you. I'm scared of my computer too lol. Not because of crashes but because I am simply computer challenged. Even with the basics lol. On top of that, I let my daughter and SIL talk me into switching over to a Mac. So now I'm twice as illiterate :))) Repeating "I think I can. I think I can."

  130. Hi Missy:

    Well you didn’t have to worry about today’s post. As they say in Hollywood, ‘it has legs’. I’d say today is a big success!

    I loved your comment: “How dare they change the laws.” Back in 2000, when the last huge change in the law took place, I was all over the place trying to change many of the new law’s provisions. I had several Attorney General letter rulings rendered, and I asked for Real Estate Commission opinions based on my questions. Well, this new 2013 law is almost exactly the law I wanted in the first place! It’s almost like a publisher sending you notice that the book they rejected 13 years ago is now acceptable. Can you just rewrite it to account for cell phones, etc.

    Be careful what you pray for. You just might get it.


    P.S. Those mentoring prizes are exceptional. The best prize I ever won on Seekerville was a half-hour consult on the phone with Julie Lessman. That alone inspired me to do more work on my writing than anything else ever has.

  131. This is great, Missy. I'm not a plotter or a planner or a charter but I think I need to get over that! LOL. I'm writing suspense and it's a real pain when I discover something huge at the end of the story and then have to backtrack to weave in connecting threads. Thanks for the link to the Knock Out Novel program. It looks really interesting.

  132. Missy I am a my hat is off to kept going!!!!!!! love Seekerville and it's authors, and comments....

  133. Wow, Missy! You've sure turned into a revising queen by the sound of it. :-) I'm so terribly biased when it comes to looking at my own work. I'm the type that sees problems when there are none and spends hours fixing things that were probably fine. Oh well. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to work around that. And yes, I'd much rather write than revise. My crit partner is quite the opposite, which pretty much makes me think she's crazy. :-/

  134. Ooo, ooo! I'm so late to the conversation!

    I reverse plot. I write the story the way I want to, then I go back and plot it out. If I see any glaring things like three chapters in one POV or a long conversation that takes 12 pages or a major scene that is way too short, I work on those points.

    I think a lot of times people say pantsers start with nothing. But it's in my head. Even thought it's not on paper, doesn't mean I don't know what is going on in my story.

    Roald Dahl said once that he had no notes to his stories because he didn't need any. He'd already done all the thinking over the story and it was in his head. I do have notes, but I think I'm more like that... puzzling it out, saving ideas, keeping it up in my noggin until it's time to let it out.

    That said.... I'm not expecting to change anybody's opinions here. I hope all writers are respected for the way they write, what they write, how they write. We're an inclusive writing community, n'est-ce pas? And the books will stand or fall by themselves, no matter OUR opinion of how they were crafted. Readers and editors will decide what is worthy of attention.

    Platting, pantsing, typing blind... a good book is a good book.

    Carry on!

  135. I was a pantser on my first book, a painful experience. However, I plan to (no pun intended) be a plotser for the next. I'll have a rough outline to work from. If all goes well, then I may become a full blown plotter. We'll see..


  136. Missy, excellent post! Thanks for proving that we writers can change our process or at least tweak it.

    I can't seem to write without revising, which really slows me down. Plus the more I know the more confident I am that I can write the story.

    I love revising but like Vince said, I'm never sure when I should stop. Most of the time I'm not satisfied and keep revising, especially the book's ending. I want the HEA to be emotional and always feel I could make it better. But the bell does ring. The fight is over. Time to take off the gloves. ;-)


  137. Must go get spaghetti sauce started! Will catch up in a bit. :)

  138. Good points to keep in mind ... Maybe someday I'll get around to writing instead of just reading. :). I know there's a lot of writers who would love this day's prize, so do not enter me please!

  139. Oh Missy.
    First off, congratulations on your pawmazing successes. Overnight, right?! :)

    Also - I'm still learning this lesson also but completely agree, plotting makes the rest of the work so. much. simpler.

    Maybe I'm still at the planster stage, but I'm gaining on being a full-fledged plotter. Not there yet. But you give me hope!

    I'd adore to be in for the mentoring package. may at maythek9spy dot com

  140. Pat W, it probably took me a month to get used to my Mac. In the beginning, I wasn't so sure I liked it! But now I love it and wouldn't change back. Have fun with it!

  141. See, Vince. They should have listened to you!

    I'm glad you found the chat helpful. I've sure enjoyed the ones I've done!

  142. Kav, I think suspense is even more difficult! I don't think I could weave in all those threads and plant red herrings and such. I'm glad you're the one doing that! :)

    But hey, I sure love to read them. So y'all keep writing them.

  143. Virginia, thanks! I'm a procrastinator, too (at least when I'm overwhelmed). So I have to really push myself ahead. Now I'll look forward to this part!

  144. Naomi, maybe you and your cp should co-write. You write first draft and she does revisions! :)

  145. Virginia (Carmichael), I sure hope you don't think I'm dissing non-plotters! Like I said, I think that's my natural way. But I can't keep it all straight in my head like you do. So I've found I have to do less revising when I do my planning. I keep track better when I fill in my charts.

    My hats off to those like you and Mary and Ruthy whose stories come to them that way! You amaze me (and, admittedly, make me jealous).

    I just wanted to post how whether you plot or not, you, too, can learn to love revising. :) Hopefully I didn't make people think I'm looking down on pantsers! Didn't mean to do that.

  146. Preslaysa, you'll have to let us know how it works for you. You never know! Some people find it stifles them.

  147. Janet, I find it impossible not to revise some while I go. I can't let things go and just plow through the draft. Although that's pretty much my goal. I still go back and re-read and fix things. :)

  148. Lady Dragonkeeper, we love readers around here!! :)

  149. KC, just do what works for you! We all work differently. I've probably done each book a bit differently. I think I'm finding my groove. :)

  150. By the way, Virginia C, I love that term reverse plot. That's sort of what I was talking about doing in my post when I mentioned going back after writing the story to do some of your favorite charts or plotting methods.

  151. The thought of revising things is daunting, sometimes the idea of just writing is .. but I hope to print off and follow the tips given from each writer here. So thankful to my friend Julie Lessman for sending us over here to join the fun but also to hear and learn from those who are doing it.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

  152. Linda Marie, we're so glad you came! We hope you'll keep hanging out with us. We have a good time! :)

  153. PatW,

    HUGS! I can't imagine going to a MAC. I say that I know just enough to get myself into trouble. I need to upgrade my Word program. Can you hear my knees shaking? Maybe it won't be so obvious if we repeat together - "I think I can. I think I can."

    OK, Missy, I signed up on Hiveword and Knockout. Wish me luck! And I'd be happy to have your input on the mentoring so throw me in that pile, please. ;)

  154. Lyndee, you'll have to let me know what you think. Have fun with it!

  155. Missy, how does Knockout Novel Program work?

  156. Oooh I love stepping into the fray in my pajamas.

    I love pantsering and I love revising.

    I plot because I am forced to but a happy day is just writing.

    And my checks cash just as nicely whether I am pantsering or plottering.

  157. You won that book from me, Sherri. And I own it too.

    I need to read it.

    However, that said. I made an amazing discovery today.

    I generally struggle and write 1000 a day.

    Since I did write that training program for Saturday's post I set my goal at 2000 today.


    It's like messing with your mind.

    You say you can't go to bed until you hit 2000 and suddenly 1000 is soooo easy.

    BIZZARE, HUH????

  158. A timely post...will be of great help with my first novel.

    I'd love to be entered into the drawing.

  159. Audra, the program is all online. You go through a series of exercises, answering questions and moving step by step through a process to help you form your book skeleton and gather ideas. It has a trial edition if you want to check it out.

  160. Tina, that's amazing! Our mindset has so much to do with it.

  161. Linda, I'm glad you found it helpful!

  162. Great post, Missy.

    I call myself a hybrid plotser, but if there's anything I've learned this past year, it's that putting a fancy name on myself doesn't mean squat if I can't follow my own plan.

    I welcome having you mentor me, Missy. Please put my name in your bucket. :)

    Hey Carol... from what I read in your comment, we could be twins. :D

  163. Hey, Missy! I almost forgot to come over today! I don't really like doing a lot of planning, but I've discovered that it's a mistaken not to! I need to think more purposefully and intentionally plan out the characters and the plot. Otherwise, my plot can easily get derailed. And I'm one of those weird people who actually likes revising just as much as writing the first draft. I like both! It's hard to say which I like better. But both are HARD. Really hard, but fun at the same time. How weird is that?

    Well, I can't forgot to come over tomorrow, because I'm hosting Seekerville tomorrow! Yay! So exciting! :-)

    And these are great questions to ask yourself, Missy. I think I need to ask them WHILE I'm writing the first draft instead of after. :-)

  164. Plotter, pantster, hat's off to ALL OF YOU. I flounder around thinking I'm one, then the other, then, I'm just clueless most of the time! lol

    Missy, so glad the Knockout Novel program gave you a boost. I'll have to look into it!

  165. VINCE SAID: "The best prize I ever won on Seekerville was a half-hour consult on the phone with Julie Lessman."

    LOL ... don't win much, do you, Vince?? ;)

    And correction: The best prize I ever gave on Seekerville was a half-hour consult with Vince Mooney -- talk about FUN!! :)


  166. LINDA MARIE FINN!! You made it over, here, darlin' -- I'm SO glad!!
    Here's to a win. :)


  167. Hmm I don't like editing essays but I enjoy seeing my manuscript improving. I need to keep all this info in mind. As it was I just got an essay back with a ton of corrections and I got an A. Clearly just when you think you might be a writer you realize you aren't. It keeps you humble.

  168. I doubt I will ever be ready to love revising. I did finish a manuscript earlier this year (and I'm not ready to go back to it).

  169. Loved this post! I really enjoyed the revising stage. I think I would have more if I'd written the draft with a better grip of GMC, but once that clicked into place, it was a joy. I did put a time limit that took a little of the fun out of it, but it helped it get FINISHED which was the funnest thing of all. :) Thanks for the post, Missy!

  170. Tina said: You say you can't go to bed until you hit 2000 and suddenly 1000 is soooo easy.

    In a strange way, this makes perfect sense.

  171. Revising sounds like a lot of hard work, but if you can at least try to be positive about it that's got to help.

  172. I am so sorry I missed this!!!

    I had a crazy work day followed by a beautiful Mass celebrating the one-year anniversary of Dad Blodgett's death... so dinner with family, wonderful, but didn't stop into Seekerville.


    I love that we're all so different. I'm a pantser with a plan... 'cause you've got to have a goal or a plan of the path in your head right?

    I have two kids who are writers. One is like me, the story is 'seen' in her head, she envisions her paper before she writes it and then sits down and hits the keyboard...

    The other is a Planner-to-the-charting-max....

    So he does better with a Pam-Missy-Friendly outline that gives him reference points.

    And they're both amazingly talented and good. But how funny that while they both got that Logan/Herne talent (did I ever tell youse that I'm related to the author of "The Shootist"? A Herne relative contacted me and told me that. She might be making it up. I was too busy writing to CHECK, LOL!!!)

    So whatever way we do it... and I'm very like Virginia in that I "see" the book in my head and then write it... as long as it works, we're golden!

  173. I'd love to win the mentoring package and move from frozen plotter to writer. So tired of being stuck! :)

  174. Hi!
    I have big love/hate relationship with revising. I love how after I reach 'the end' I can go back to the beginning of my WIP to add soooooo much. But then I have to change the rest of the whole novel to match. *Sigh*
    I am not a plotter. I tend to get a story idea and jump right in without plotting out all the way to the end. As a result revising becomes like a wonderful nightmare.
    and, in addition, for some reason, reading my novel is like eating a heavy biscuit. Slow. Boring. HOW DO I GET SUPENSE TO BE SUSPENSEFUL????? (This is almost painful to write.)
    I desperately need that prize. Or any help you can offer in the writing world. Or any idea of how much it costs to get published. (That's a real worry for me).
    I don't even have any of those how-to books. The only advice I get for the writing world comes from this blog and the blog on ACFW (cant afford a membership yet).
    Please, please enter me!
    I wish you the best of luck in your own writing. You are so blessed to be published. Someday I pray I'll reach that point too.

  175. I love this article. It's very encouraging for me. I'm still revising my first manuscript. I'm definitely part pantser. I hope next time will be easier. BTW:I would love to be mentored and/or win something.

  176. Great advice, Missy! I'm rewriting a book now, and although it was hard to rethink it, I love what the novel is becoming! So glad you're finding what works for you!

  177. Such a great article - many helpful tips!! Thanks, Missy!

  178. Missy, thanks so much for the kind words about Knockout Novel. It's a labor of love after many years of teaching and writing. I'm gratified it's helping so many writers.


  179. I'm sorry I didn't check by here again earlier today!

    Anita Mae, you're so right about us having to work our plan! :)

  180. LOL, Melanie! I'm glad you remembered to do your post today! :)

  181. LOL, Pam. Yeah, I've been all over the board. And I change my method as I try new things.

    I'm just relieved I don't dread revising this time!

  182. Elizabeth, congrats on getting the A! The corrections are just to help you improve little things, I sure. Sounds like it was nothing major. :)

  183. Walt, next time I see you I'm going to try to give you an attitude adjustment! Remember, you're no longer allowed to think of it as torture. :)

  184. Natalie, I'm glad you finished! That's such a huge accomplishment. The true reward. :)

  185. Mary Preston, yes! It sure has helped me!

  186. Ruthy, amen to that! We do whatever works for our brains. But aren't genetics funny? Out of my three kids, only one loves to read.


  187. Vonilda, you're right about that! Nothing's worse than being stuck. You can do it, though. Just forcing yourself to sit in that chair and put your fingers on the keyboard is the hardest part. I find that once I get going again, I'm a much happier person.

  188. Crystal, I'm not a good one to ask about how to do suspense. Be sure to read all Debby's posts! And look under the topic of suspense because we've had guest bloggers who talk about it.

    We're glad you're here to hang out and hope we can help!

  189. Thanks Janet F and Eva Maria! I hope it was helpful.

  190. Edwina, I'm glad the tips were helpful!

  191. Jim, thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the great program that's been a big help to me.

  192. I don't think I could stand making so many changes to a story I had poured my heart and soul into. But that's why I leave the writing to authors like you! Great advice, Miss Missy!

    Wanda Barefoot

  193. I can't catch up with all these comments (and edit too! ha ha) but my big dreaded spot is half way in between. I love the first draft and speedily trying to keep up with my characters' conversations. And I love the part where I've cleaned up that first draft and start to see something good evolving. But facing that first draft is so awful.


  194. Revising isn't my strong suit, but I am learning to like it. :) Please drop my name in for the mentoring package!