Sunday, November 23, 2008

Revisions are a New Creative Process

I was reading Kelly Marstad’s blog the other day and I had an epiphany of sorts.

Her blog post is about having to add to your manuscript after you’ve decided it’s complete.

I don’t like revisions. And I could never figure out why. But, somewhere during her post, I realized something:

I don’t like making sewing alterations, either.

So what has that got to do with it, eh?

Well, when I sew, I take a length of fabric, a pattern, and all the trimmings and I create something new.

Same as with my writing. I love to start a manuscript, get my creative juices flowing, and work until it’s done to my satisfaction. Then, I send my ms, one chapter at a time, to my CP’s and see what they say. When their critiques come back, it’s time for revisions.

In sewing, you take the completed article and change it either to fit someone or to repair it – like a broken zipper.

But, I don’t like doing sewing alterations. It’s not creative enough.

Ah – but writing revisions can be as creative as you want to make the process. You layer your ms by adding details, descriptions and dialogue. You dig deeper into the conflict. And, you strengthen your story.

I just have to look at it as a new creative process and not an alteration of an old one.

Does this make sense to you?



  1. Sure it does! I used to feel exactly the same way. You know what helps me? Printing out one chapter at a time and making every sentence count. Make them all tighter by re-working them, removing show sentences that are necessary "He looked mad" no, tell me what about his made you think he was mad. "He frowned"? Okay, can we get more creative with the description there.

    Zooming in, is another technique. Think of the glass flower the heroine is holding while she's melancholy... zoom in, watch the light refract in ruby and crimson, how can it be a metaphor for how she feels that the reader will connect with.

    Then take the chapter, add your fixes to the computer version and move on. Keep a note pad for things that come up as you read. Like John always wears dogtags, so why didn't the heroine notice them in chapter two when he shrugged out of his shirt to fix the car engine and they glinted in the sunlight, dangled low over the hot motor... etc etc etc.

    It makes a huge difference. :) Happy writing!

  2. Sigh.

    Make them all tighter by re-working them, removing show sentences that are necessary "He looked mad" no, tell me what about his made you think he was mad

    S/b that AREN'T necessary. and what about HIM made you....

    Add emotion too. Like when your heroine got hit with an answer in dialogue she didn't expect, show us how she feels about that and what it means to her.

    Okay, enough random lecturing. Heh. Thanks for mentioning my blog today. It's nice to know that you find inspiration there the way I find it here and in other blog forums. ;)

  3. makes sense to me.

    i think your insight will help me with my editorial process as well.

    thanks for sharing!

    Deb H.

  4. Anita, go over to the medical forum on the eharl website. The ladies there are curious about why your nano numbers are not climbing. ;-)

    Happy revising your work!

  5. Kelly - thank you so much for your input. This whole craft is a never ending learning process, isn't it?

    Hey Deb - thanks for stopping by.

    Nancy - thank you. I've just gone and 'out-talked' Maggie. LOL


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