Thursday, March 5, 2015

Turning "It's Horrible" Into "It's Fantastic!"

Good morning, everyone! Audra here. We're looking at racking up lots of words during Speedbo - no thinking, just writing! I couldn't resist inviting Cathy Yardley back to Seekerville this month to give us some tips on what to do with our massive amount of words after Speedbo.  



Generally, writers I work with either love revising, hate revising, or have a love-hate relationship with it -- meaning they feel both!

However you feel about revisions, they're a necessary part of being a professional writer. No one writes a perfect draft on the first go.

But how do you approach revisions?
In the industry, there's a three pass system, and it's survived all these years for a reason: it's very effective.

First pass.
The first pass is story level. It's a prototype: seeing if all the moving parts of your draft actually work. Are your characters consistent? Does your plot work as you envisioned? Does the plot actually work with the characters you've created -- that is, are they behaving logically, or are you forcing them to take actions for the sake of where you want the story to go? Does each scene hook the reader, drawing her naturally into the next one?

In the first pass, you do not look at word craft, or even the niceties of scene craft. Why? Because if the scene doesn't work, then you're going to need to either entirely revamp it, or remove it. There's no point in polishing the prose if you're going to cut it. It's a waste of time and effort, and if you're like most writers I know, you don't have a surplus of either.

Second pass.
In the second pass, you know that the story works. Now, you tighten your focus, working at scene level. You should have already confirmed that each scene is there for good reason, forwarding your character’s developmental arc and furthering the plot. From there, you’re going to sharpen, strengthen and layer each individual scene, so it not only serves its purpose, it excels at it.  Is each scene anchored? Does the setting contribute to the mood and emotion? Are the descriptions, well, descriptive? Are character voices – both internal exposition and dialogue – unique and consistent? Does the scene use the best point of view choice? How can you add layers of depth and dimension, heightening the emotion and the conflict, increasing the tension?

Third pass.

In the third pass, you'll be doing your fine polish. This pass is sentence level: you're looking at word choice, grammar, etc.  This is where you catch your grammar tics and typos. Personally, I have an unhealthy attachment to both ellipses and em dashes. In my third pass, I always weed out as many as I can!  You may also notice a repetition of words on a page: for example, “I looked at the sky. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. The sky looked like a robin’s egg, a pale, perfect blue.”  Again, nothing technically wrong, but the repetition dulls the writing.  

Do you have to work in this order?
I like to use the analogy of building a house. Your first pass is structural: you're constructing the framework and making sure basics like plumbing and wiring are effective, installing windows and doors. Your second pass is putting up things like drywall, fixtures, flooring. Your third pass is decorative: painting, decorating, cleaning up so it's ready to move in.

Most people who are overwhelmed by revisions tend to try doing everything at once. They're trying to decorate a room, only to then tear open a wall to fix the plumbing they hadn't realized was disconnected! It leads to a lot of frustration and duplication of effort.

Following the pass system as it stands is really the most effective way to go about it.  The trick is to be able to stay in the right frame of mind. It’s very common to wince your way through the first pass, thinking, “This writing is terrible! The dialogue’s flat, and it has no setting! I must fix this immediately!
Try to resist the urge. If you spend an hour polishing a scene, only to discover that the whole scene needs to be cut, you’ll never get that hour back. While it could be worthwhile, simply to practice your craft, think about how much time you have, and remember you’re also developing your writing process for a long term writing career. The more efficiently and effectively you write, the more books you’ll be able to produce!

If you're doing Speedbo:
Many of you are participating in Speedbo this month. Personally, I'm a big fan of writing a "lightning draft" as a first pass. The speed allows you to silence your inner editor (or at least quiet her down a bit!) and move forward.

Sometimes, my coaching clients moan "but it's horrible!" That's fine. In fact, it's supposed to be horrible! Your rough draft is raw material. Revision is the mining process that separates the dross from the gold, and gives you something to polish.

The temptation to go back and "fix" each scene a bit as you go can be overpowering. Also, you'll probably have the sinking feeling that it's all terrible at some point. (For me, this usually hits around chapter seven. Keep in mind, I've published eighteen novels, and I still feel this way!)  Try to resist the urge. It’s just a common loss of perspective. Writing is an act of faith. You need to be able to move ahead despite your anxieties to the contrary. If you have difficulty with this, getting a cheerleader to help remind you to keep moving will help. Use every trick in the book if you need to. But keep moving!

Finally, always keep track of what works for you… and what doesn’t.
It’s important to recognize your own writing process.  If you’re the type of writer who feels she can’t move forward until the previous scene is polished, that’s fine. However, any sort of rush-draft scenario – Speedbo, Nano, Book in a Month, etc. – is probably not going to work well with your particular writing style.  If you’re not sure what your writing style is, I recommend trying something like Speedbo at least once, to try it out.

That said, don’t feel like a failure if you wind up abandoning it because you can’t keep up due to constant revising.  It’s more important for you to figure out what works for you than to force yourself to fit someone else’s method, even if it does seem more efficient.

What’s your writing process?  Do you like fast drafting, or are you polish-as-you-go?  How do you approach revisions?

Rock Your Revisions
Audra again. March will end before you know it and when that happens, we'll all be looking at massaging our work and making sense of the whole bunch of words we've compiled. To help remind us, Cathy is giving away a copy of her ebook, Rock Your Revisions. Seekerville is also giving away two more copies of Rock Your Revisions. Good things come in threes, don't they?

Also, check out the incredible specials she's running in March. Cathy is discounting her one hour plot calls and her editing services. You can reserve the editing rate to use by the end of 2015. Make sure you check out all of Cathy's writing, revising, promoting tools on her website.  




Cathy Yardley is the author of seventeen novels, published with Harlequin, St. Martin’s, Entangled, and Avon. She is also a teacher, editor, and writing coach at her website, RockYourWriting.com. Sign up for her free e-course Jump-start Your Writing Career, and check out her e-books on plotting, revising, and writing every day!


80 comments:

Melissa Jagears said...

The way I get over the "I MUST FIX THIS MESS" is to write myself a little track changes bubble. I do a lightning draft and then I read it all the way though and don't stop, just make bubbles (for that story edit), like:

"Make him sound like he's actually teasing, instead of being a jerk face"

or

"Write something better." :)

Those bubbles make me feel all right about not stopping to fix it, and I get a better feel for the story then if I stopped and fixed things all the time.

And I have now spent 7 hours on church accounting today and must speedbo! Let me tell you, I have no idea why I thought it would be a good thing to "let's just change the way our church does the books because the other way is stupid this year." Because I needed to add another full time job to my schedule apparently......

I've got lots of chocolate to share....well, if you get here quick enough.

Helen Gray said...

There's coffee to go with Melissa's chocolate. That should be enough caffeine jolt for anyone. :)

I'm one of those with a love/hate feel for revisions. I like doing them, but they can get very TIRESOME.

Terri said...

Love these ideas and Melissa's. My work always needs lots Iof editing.

Now, hand over the chocolate and no one will get hurt. :-)

Tanara McCauley said...

What a wonderfully timed and encouraging post. I just wrapped up day four (barely in time to continue my chain) and questioned whether I could move forward tomorrow without fixing all the terrible writing thus far. And the three pass method? Don't know why I'd never heard of it before, but it makes perfect sense and has given me a rush of relief. And as much as I'd love coffee and chocolate right about now, I think I'd still end up with my face on the keyboard. So off to bed I go. Until tomorrow all! #NOLIMITS

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm in the "I love revisions!" camp. Drafting is my challenge. I have to force myself to splash words on the page. What keeps me going is knowing I get to come back later and turn the dreck into something decent.

Wishing all of you who are Speedboing well.

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for your post Cathy. The Pass Method sounds like a great way to face the challenge of editing. I'm an "edit as you go" and I am really trying to break that habit as it hinders the forward movement of my story and then I get stuck.

I can't Speedbo this month but I am fully rooting all of you on who are. Go Speedboers Go!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melissa.

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???????????????


That is all.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melissa uses bubbles.

I use notes at bottom of manuscript, little reminders so that what I'm putting on page 235 is reflective of what I'm going to add on page 17...

And that way my memory is jogged because as you write/rewrite/edit/revise, it's easy to lose which version of the story you actually kept!

Great advice here, Cathy, and welcome back to Seekerville!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I love your method Melissa Jagears. Makes perfect sense!

(the church accounting...not so much)

Tina Radcliffe said...

I had peeps dipped in dark chocolate for breakfast.

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

WELCOME BACK, CATHY YARDLEY!!!

Wonderful tips to keep us going and to remind us that this is all about finding our groove.

Mary Hicks said...

This was what I needed today, Thanks! :-)

Melissa, I understand. I signed up to teach a Sunday morning class—all the prep time.:-)
First things first. :-)

It's hard to keep moving down the page when my nature is to 'clean up' as I go. I'm determined to quit that! :-|

I normally just stick three asterisk in a trouble spot and go back the next day and rework that area before I start up again . . . unless I 'fix' it after my tea break. I know, I know . . . :-o

I wrote more words yesterday than I've ever done in a day. When I saw how close I was to getting 3000 words for the day, I wanted to keep going.

But the ideas were slowing down and my bed called . . . :-) :-)

Wednesday: 2,922 words.

DebH said...

as I am attempting to revise an MS that is in need of major overhaul, this post is wonderful. I now feel much better about saying goodbye to scenes that no longer work if I wish to tweak the story to better fit what the editor mentioned. yay! mental breakthrough. I guess I'm a slow learner.

no need to put my name in the draw. I have been fortunate enough to win the Rock Your Revision book already. It's wonderful.

Vince said...

Hi Cathy:

I have your "Rock Your Plot" and "Rock Your Revisions" and I highly recommend readers also get the Audible versions of these books. You are one of the few authors who is even better than the professional narrators.

I'm so glad you narrated your own books. A nonfiction book when read by the author just seems so much more authentic. I'd love to attend a live seminar.


You are very funny. I love this line in particular which I think is a great way to open your book on plotting:

"Why plot?

When I speak to other writers, they usually either call themselves plotters or “pantsers” (i.e., seat-of-the pants instinctual writers). Lately, I’ve been hearing “Plontsers” (because “pantsers” didn’t sound nearly silly enough, right?)


I like your audible versions because I can listen to them while I do manual work. Then when I get free to write, I've already had a review of the writing skills that I feel I need at the time. This is very helpful.

BTW: It is hard for me, a very visual learner, to remember audio material for very long, so I still need to read the Kindle versions. Also, I tend to be more of a plotter than pantser.

Do you have any more Audible books coming out?

Come to think of it: you are an author who has a great voice both literally and figuratively. I hope to hear from you more often.

Vince

Dana McNeely said...

I edit some as I go, but do try to push ahead to get the story out. Thanks for the 3-pass approach!

Preslaysa Williams said...

Hi Cathy! So nice to read your post here on Speedbo. I have a tendency to edit as I go...and then I end up deleting scenes because they don't work at the story level. This time around, I'm going to take it one pass at a time. Thank you for the helpful advice!

Audra Harders said...

Good morning all! Chocolate seems to be the theme for the day so help yourselves to light and dark chocolate dipped croissants. OMG, what a nibble of heaven! There's a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries too for those looking for a healthier breakfast.

Either way, it's all good : )

I love Cathy's words of wisdom. She has a way of making the lightbulb go off in my head no matter if we're talking plotting or revisions.

I enjoyed a plotting session with her. OMG, kids, if you are a thread-bare pantser like I am, give her hour long plotting phone calls a try. We worked together on my historical novel and she helped make the plot a much stronger book!!

Enjoy chatting with Cathy today!

Vince said...

Hi Melissa:

You wrote:

"Make him sound like he's actually teasing, instead of being a jerk face"

Wow! The above is a direct judge's comment from more than one of my contest entries. Either you were the judge on these entries or this is a problem a lot of heroes face. : )

Seriously if you make an emotionally biting comment, you know exactly what to fix. A comment like 'fix this' would make you read a lot more to find your place before making an edit. In Scrivener this is a natural inline annotation. It is something I am using right now. I think it is a great idea.

Vince

Audra Harders said...

Melissa, you are one brave soul. I so shied away from anything having to do with money at our church...and you do a jack knife dive right into the middle of the pool.

Wow. Good luck, kiddo!


Audra Harders said...

I have to leave comments to myself all over my manuscript when I'm boring through the rough draft.

Ha, there isn't a speck of lightning in anything I do revolving around writing, LOL!!!

Scrivener makes it so easy to keep my notes in order. I wish I had a "Scrivener" for other parts of my life : )

Audra Harders said...

Tanara, I'm so with you. I can tool along in rough draft and then bang! I run into a wall. How can I go forth and conquer this ms if I'm not certain which way to go?

Glad the revision plan helped. YES, you can power through this road block!!

#NOLIMITS

Audra Harders said...

Mary Hicks - 2922 words!! WooHoo you are my hero!!!

Audra Harders said...

Good luck to you, DebH! Get all those details put in the proper order!

I'm looking at a scene right now that has way too much going on in it. I think I can create 3 scenes out of this one.

AND, must throw away one entire concept that has no place in this scene. Ouch.

Marianne Barkman said...

Sounds like all of you are doing great with Speedbo, even those you of who can't say NO. that's okay, I keep saying yes too! Just not to writing. Go, writers, go! NO LIMITS!!!!

kaybee said...

Hi Cathy,
I won one of your plot consults through this site last year. It was very helpful and I did incorporate most of your ideas. Mine was the one with Pace Williams and the Irish girl who wanted to go back and avenge her family. I made her think her family was dead so brother Michael was all she had, per your suggestions, and I added the part where Pace sends her on ahead to protect her and she finds out what's really going on and comes back to save him. It's a little more interesting now.
When I know specifically what needs to be done, I like revising. I like taking something and making it better. When I don't know but I just know "it isn't working," not so much.
Kathy Bailey

Jackie said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Cathy. Thanks for the great post. I'll remember your words as I work on my WIP this morning.

I hope you all have a great day!

Audra Harders said...

Hi Vince! I agree with you about Cathy's voice. I have the audible version of Rock Your Plot and find it wonderful to listen to when I'm out on walks.

I love multitasking : )

Audra Harders said...

Kaybee, so glad to hear your plotting session with Cathy went well. I enjoyed a plotting session with her, too. OMG, she asked questions I had to think hard to answer and discovered I'd ignored the main thread of the entire story.

That book is still a challenge to write, but Cathy really helped outline it with me.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Thank you for this post, Cathy. Your timing is perfect. I'm all about fast drafting and slapping it on the page. You're exactly right, it feels terrible to spend a lot of time stressing over one scene and then end up deleting it.

Audra Harders said...

I'm off to day job. Enjoy Cathy today and I"ll pop in as I can!

#NOLIMITS

Rhonda Starnes said...

Thanks for the post, Cathy. Unfortunately, I'm one of the people who can't seem to turn off my inner editor. It doesn't stop me from participating in Speedbo, but it does make my success at Speedbo harder. I am bookmarking your post, so at the end of the month, I can reread it before revising.

Melissa, I use comment bubble, too, when I'm attempting to shut off my inner editor. Another thing I do is highlight the first word in a scene either pink or blue to help me keep up with whose pov I'm in. This also allows me to quickly see if I'm using one pov in too many consecutive scenes and/or if I'm using one pov way more than the other.

We're being hit with an ice storm in north Alabama this morning, so school has been canceled for the day. Making it a perfect day to Speedbo! Praying we don't lose power, but if we do and I run out of computer battery, I'll just have to dig out the paper and pencils.

Missy Tippens said...

Very helpful, Cathy! Thanks so much for sharing with us today.

kaybee said...

Did not work on my Speedbo project yesterday. Sigh. Too much of everything else.
KB

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Cathy! Excellent post! Want to revise as you suggest, but in reality, I revise as I go. Not the best way for speed, but I worry that if the story structure/plot doesn't work, then I've wasted my time writing that first draft.

How do you see the big picture when you're writing fast? Any tips?

Janet

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cathy, Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for the great reminders of what to do with all those words we write.

Have fun today.

Myra Johnson said...

Some great advice here, Cathy--thanks for being our guest!

I'm kind of middle-of-the-road on editing as I go. Rereading yesterday's words almost always results in some "tweaking," but it does help me get back into the story and remember where I was headed.

I write in Scrivener and usually do the first round or two of edits in Scrivener, then compile to a Word doc (which is what my editor will need) for the final stages. Seeing the words in a different format makes things stand out that I might not have noticed before. But I also keep the Scrivener doc open and copy any changes into it so they match.

Linda Goodnight said...

Excellent advice, Cathy, especially for Speedbo. For me, pushing on when the story doesn't feel perfect yet is very difficult, but a mini edit on the previous few pages is often enough to satisfy that inner critic and get me moving.

mistysimon said...

I always love Cathy's posts! This was is extremely timely for me since I am first drafting and keep stopping to fix. No more!

Mary Hicks said...

Cathy, after all the above comments about 'Rock Your Plot', I jotted over to Amazon and ordered the audio version.

Like Vince, and Audra, I enjoy listening to instructive tapes while I do necessary tasks that don't require my mental attention. :-)

I listen while driving, too.

I agree with Vince, you have a nice voice.:-)

Back to work.

Barbara Scott said...

Cathy, I sooo needed your post today. I've hit Chapter 11 and I'm second guessing myself. Was that wedding night scene too racy even though the marriage wasn't consummated? Have I built enough tension between my hero and heroine? Is my history correct? On and on and on my mind has screamed at me all morning. Plus it's snowing outside and everybody else is taking a snow day. I don't have that luxury. I have to write. After reading your post, I'll suck it up and put my questions and changes on the back burner. Thanks for your insight!!

Jeanne T said...

Cathy, loved your post. I have a love affair with fast drafting. When I began writing, I thought for sure I'd love the editing/fixing end of the process better. Come to find out, after I wrote my first fast draft (96K words) in 5 weeks, that I LOVED fast drafting.

I'm learning how to revise, and your 3 pass method makes perfect sense.

For me, when I'm fast drafting and I realize I need more (description, emotion, whatever) I leave a note on that page for myself. I've begun using Scrivener, and I'll either leave it in the side area, or I'll highlight it in my text. It helps me to move forward without worrying too much about missing stuff on my second pass. :)

Great post!

Barbara Scott said...

Oh, and I just went to the Kindle store to buy both of your books. :) Can't wait to read them!

Pam Hillman said...

I polish as I go. But I agree 100% that writing the rough draft from beginning to end is definitely the more desirable route.

My husband is a carpenter, so I GET that analogy, totally.

On the flip side, though, just like the carpenter with a good set of house plans, I do better at writing through to the end with a good synopsis that at least hits all the major plot points.

I wonder if my predilection of polishing as I go stems from my natural tendencies or more from years of writing three chapters and a synopsis for contests. Something to ponder. Maybe I can retrain myself to write all the way through. :)

Cathy said...

Thank you so much for the gracious welcome, guys! And I'm glad you find the post helpful. The trick really is to find a process that works for you.

Vince -- I am hoping to have the Audible versions of my promotion books out soon. The first is Painless Promotion: Strategy, the next is Genre & Voice. I'm launching books on how to get reviews, how to blog and guest post, and how to build your newsletter list later this year. Hopefully, like the Rock Your Writing series, they will be entertaining as well as clear and easy to follow. So many people I know have trouble with the "building your platform" activities, so I do hope that will make things easier!

Thanks so much for hosting me! Seekerville is a wonderful community. :)

Chill N said...

Cathy, I have tried many an approach and finally gone back to what works for me. I won't even try to explain the method -- just sum it up as "I love making the story stronger." Hence, I appreciate your sentence that it’s important to recognize our own writing process.

That said, I see how I can work aspects of The Pass Method into my approach. Thanks for making me aware of it, and thank you for encouraging Speedbo-ers :-)

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Mary H! No wonder we haven't been in touch! 2,922 words! Cheering you on :-D

Nancy C

Connie Queen said...

I wish I would've read this post a few years ago. It makes complete sense and would've saved me a LOT of time.

Don't enter my name. I have a very difficult time w/ebooks.

Thanks for the post.

Sherida Stewart said...

THANK YOU, Cathy! This was the PERFECT advice I needed today. I'm Speedbo-ing and made my goal yesterday, but the words were pure drivel. Seekerville has taught me I must have words on the page to be able to edit. Your plan is GREAT. I know I'll be cutting, so I will not worry about the fixing....until April. YES--horrible->fantastic!

PS From late last night comments--
Martha H: Yay to success, both words and posting. Welcome!
Sandra: Congratulations on your anniversary! Yes, real-life romance is the best!

(My writing reward for today: making a comment...and I need to find jellybeans and some chocolate!)Happy Speedbo-ing to all today!

Cathy, thanks again, now to save your EXCELLENT post for use in April!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Oh, I forgot to say, don't enter my name in the drawing. I already own Rock Your Revisions! :)

Jamie Adams said...

Great post. I tend to polish as I go. I signed up for your free e-course, I think it's just what I need. So glad you came by today!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Linda Goodnight, I do that too. Otherwise I'm writing drivel.

CONNEALY: DON'T SAY IT.

THIS IS ME, SAVING YOU FROM YOURSELF.

You're welcome.

Mary Connealy said...

I polish as I go. But I also do a second pass, and possibly third and fourth if there's time.

In my experience (this is just me) it just keeps getting better and better the more times you can revise.

I suppose there's a limit but I usually stop before I reach it.

Wilani Wahl said...

I like this idea for editing and revising.

I have been gone to a ladies luncheon. Now it is nap time since the vertigo is so bad, my vision is blurring. Praying I will be able to get some writing in today if my body will allow it.

Hoping I will be back later this evening with a good word count for today.

Please include me in the drawing for the book.

Mary Cline said...

"Writing is an act of faith" Thank you Cathy.

Missy Tippens said...

I've been thinking on this since I stopped by earlier. I think one of my problems is that I try to do all these levels at once. I need work harder to allow time to do this in phases.

Thanks for the reminder!

Missy Tippens said...

Hahaha at Ruthy's comment to Mary! :) :) Now I'm just waiting until Mary sees it. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ach, she saw it. She's being the bigger person.

What fun is there in that, I ask you????

DebH said...

Ruthy
you crack me up.

about to head home from work in sleet/snow mix. this ISN'T Virginia Beach weather *sigh*

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, CATHY, welcome to Seekerville, and I may be one of the few people on earth who LOVES to revise, both as I go along and when I'm done. It's almost like dessert for me after I finish writing a book, to be able to go back in with a legitimate reason to hang with the characters again. :)

You said: "Personally, I have an unhealthy attachment to both ellipses and em dashes."

LOL ... move over, girlfriend, because I'm thinkin' I may have you beat. I just had my novella edited by Ruthy's daughter, and I think she may be seeing spots now because I am an ellipses queen as well. The poor thing probably has carpal tunnel now with deleting them all. And don't even get me started on em dashes!! :) Of course the real culprit with me are exclamation points, which I use so many of that I actually feel naked if there's only one, so now I use two everywhere!! Very sad.

MEGA HUGS to Audra for bringing you here today -- wonderful post for a wonderful subject!!

Hugs,
Julie

Donna L.H. Smith said...

Jerry Jenkins always says that when your revisions don't make it better, that's when it's time to stop. :-)

Cathy said...

I think you can love to revise, but still get a flash draft/fast draft done without revising, just from a speed standpoint. That said, I really do believe that you need to identify what works best with you, and play to your strengths.

And LOL on the rabid following of ellipses, em dashes, and exclamation points! :) I think I must do a lot of dramatic pauses when I speak, because my work definitely feels rushed without them. Perhaps they're the literary equivalent of talking with your hands? (Which I also couldn't do without!)

Debby Giusti said...

Cathy, I love, love, love your three pass system for revisions!

Sounds so easy. I know, it's work, but still, it's doable! And easy to remember.

I write a fast first draft, but then I slowly work through the revisions. I like your 3-step plan better.

Sending a huge thank you accompanied by a huge hug! So glad you could be with us on Seekerville today!

Melissa Jagears said...

Vince, I don't believe I've actually written anything like that on a judging piece! I try to be nice, but since I write like that to my crit partner....I hope I remember the person doesn't know me! I just opened up one of WIPs and picked the first two bubble comments to myself!

Unknown said...

Great article! Pam Jernigan here. Please put me in the drawing, it sounds like a really useful book. Revisions scare the crap out of me :) Well, plot-level ones do. It makes me feel like I have a house of cards and if I move any of them, the whole dang thing will collapse. My 2013 Nano novel still needs plotting work.
And of course, I lose perspective on a regular basis.
Thanks for the tips and encouragement.

Got over a thousand words yesterday, somewhat to my own surprise :)

Sandy Smith said...

This is great advice and I will definitely use it for revision. Actually, revision doesn't scare me. That's the part I like. Writing the first draft is what terrifies me. I'm glad you said it is supposed to be terrible because mine truly is. I have this idea that if I write something boring that I know isn't possibly going to work, I have to fix it before I move on. Sometimes that works for writing a short story, but not so much with a novel. On March 1 I wrote two paragraphs and then said "I can't do this." But I got past that idea that I had to have it perfect and just started writing from all the notes I had made for myself. I know it is going to need a lot of work, but I believe I have a good story that I can make into something. I know that once I start revising, I will figure out where it does and doesn't work.

Please enter me for Rock Your Revisions. I would love to read it.

Wilani Wahl said...

Thankfully when I woke up from my map the vertigo was much better and I was able to write 1,299 words. Hoping to get more in after supper.

Myra Johnson said...

Great going, WILANI!

I just wrapped it up for the day and logged a little over 1600 words on my new wip! I'm still getting acquainted with the characters and stopping now and then to do some quick research on an unfamiliar location, but it's great to see progress!

Mary Curry said...

Hi Cathy,

Thanks for revisiting this with us.

My first draft is really rough with lots of comments like "I need a scene where they're in danger. Maybe I could have this happen."

It does add another level of work, but I've found that for me, doing that sort of a really rough lightning draft works far more efficiently than sitting down and spending time trying to plot out the book in advance. My brain doesn't kick into plotting mode until I'm in the middle of text.

I really like the idea of breaking revisions into multiple passes. Thanks for the suggestions. See I should have actually made time to READ Rock Your Revisions after I bought it last time you were on Seekerville.
Smacks self
(Though I was in the middle of deadline crunch.)

Mary Curry said...

And, oh yes, add me to the ellipses and em dashes club.

Bettie said...

Thanks for the great advice. Put me in the drawing for the book. I'm sure I can use the words of wisdom since editing is my biggest challenge.

Leola Ogle said...

Great post, Cathy. I love the 3-pass, but I do some editing as I go. But I love events like Speedbo because it forces me to just write write write. Gulp! And I would love your book.

Tanya Agler said...

Cathy, Thank you for the advice. I've read Rock Your Plot and already own Rock Your Revisions (in my to be read pile). I'm spending the month of March editing my first draft of my WIP so the info about the three passes is most useful.

Thank you.

Kelly Goshorn said...

I echo most of the comments - great advice. To avoid the "I Must Fix this Mess" syndrome, I close my eyes and type. If I see it I'm compelled. Crazy huh?

On a positive note, I tackled the dreaded synopsis today. One or two more passes tomorrow and I can hit send on my Genesis sub. Whew!

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

I am just writing it all out right now camp. Yes, a total newbie which means I can rejoice at the advice and maps that others have left before me! Thank God! I really appreciated this post. I know what I will be looking back on when I finish Speedbo. :) Thank you!

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

I am just writing it all out right now camp. Yes, a total newbie which means I can rejoice at the advice and maps that others have left before me! Thank God! I really appreciated this post. I know what I will be looking back on when I finish Speedbo. :) Thank you!

Jon and Vicki Marney said...

I realized that I missed reading Thursday's post--got plenty of thigs done towards my Speedbo goals but forgot to come here. So, I figured I would post and then go read today's before I got too deep in my work today...so here it is--off to read Tina's post about revising (which is what I'm in the middle of right now...
Vicki

Jon and Vicki Marney said...

Ooh--did I need this oe. I have started my Speedbo with two crit partner edits and also doing a quick edit/formatting on my 'getting close' WIP. Almost finished with that 2nd crit partner edit and ready to again tackle my own, and after reading this, I have decided that after a quick run through (just looking for the suggested corrections and getting Chapter divisions into what I have), I'm going to go back to writing--actual rough draft writing!

Now, back to you/myr regularly scheduled writing!
Vicki

Marilyn Turk said...

I'm trying very hard to speed-write without editing, but it's so hard to keep going knowing something needs to be fixed. I'm getting better at this though and have left myself a few "bubbles" and highlights. However, sometimes when I'm not writing I come across some information I should put in a scene I've already written and I have to go back and do it before I forget!

Janet Kerr said...

Polishing as I go sometimes gets in the way!
Jan

Kathy Sheldon Davis said...

What could be more important than getting my priorities in the best order - every day? I plan to be working on this till the day I die.