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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Revision

Here's the best quote I've heard about editing your own work in a long time:
In most writing groups, authors get a lot of feedback on the errors in their work, but don’t get much feedback on how to actually improve it. As a result, new authors focus on eradicating errors. So what they end up with is a novel that is pretty much unobjectionable. But that’s rather damning. You don’t want to be “okay,” you want your work to be great.
So in your rewrites, take the opportunity to add as many virtues to your work as possible.
-- Dave Farland

This is fantastic because it makes a point that I sort of accidentally found out while I was drowning in the first round of revisions and really could have heard then--that when you're going through, you don't just correct errors, you make it better.

I don't care how wonderful a writer is, the work can always be better, given a little more attention. That's just how writing works. You get through the mess draft, and then you see that there's things you could foreshadow sooner, but you didn't know they were coming until you wrote them. There's things you could make into stronger parallels, but you didn't realize you were repeating them until you got there. There are details you could add to your worldbuilding, but you didn't know what they were until after you'd written the world. And there's always stuff that characters can do, say, feel, act to make it all much more meaningful.

I learned a lot about myself going through those first revisions. I have to go through again this weekend and next week before I turn in the final draft so I can graduate, and I'll be applying what I've learned. I know that I write long-ass sentences that need to be controlled. I know I'm good at pretty language, but not always good at clear language. I know that I tend to skip the knotty parts to get the story going again, but sometimes forget to go back and put those knotty parts in. I know that I tend to make character-changing decisions without actually adding any character-changing scenes, so I have to go back and edit them or add new stuff in.

I like being reminded that I can address these issues one at a time in successive passes. It's a lot of work, but it's probably even more work to try to remember all these things at once as I read through each page. It's targeted, doing one pass at a time. And that's probably for the best.

I do want to add virtues.

I want to have the best book to give to my readers as possible.

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