Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Revising check-list


I think writing is a science. Put the correct elements into a story, and you have something that people want to read.

Well, This week as I have been writing I've thought of several things I need to jot down on paper before I forget when it comes to what I'm working on at the moment, and thought I might as well make a post out of it in case it helps anyone else. I think I've made a pretty good list in an earlier post, but I've learned a little something since then. So, here's what I've got so far:


  • Keep the reader up-to-date on what is at stake in the story. (It's always important to remember what may go wrong as you read a novel. When I read THE HUNGER GAMES, Suzanne Colins was a great example of this, letting us each step of the way what could go wrong. This always kept the tension fresh in my mind.)
  • Make sure to build character profile and show character growth as story developes. (Something I am trying to remember this time around is making sure to develop my character over time. Just like keeping the reader involved in the stakes, it's important to let the reader into my MC's head and let them know what kind of person they are and how they've changed over the course of the storyline. For example, my wonderful beta pointed out that I tell the reader how much my MC loves to paint, but I don't bring that into any of her insites later on. I guess I expected the reader to remember, but it's nice sometimes to hold your reader by the hand and take them through some of these thoughts, to keep the MC real, and remind them what the MC thinks of things through their own special 'rose-colored-glasses' .)
  • Tie up any lose ends/make sure all questions are answered. (This should be obvious, but sometimes we miss things that we think we've looked at really well. This is why everyone should have at least three people look at their story. Everyone will see something different and pick up on things that you have overlooked. Betas are invaluable here.)
  • Work on Syntax/Tighten up prose. (This again is obvious and something I didn't put on my own list because it is always on my mind. But it's nice to put in as a reminder. I like to think that anything I write (not matter how brilliant I think it is at the time) can always be improved. This was hard for me in the beginning of revising my very first book. I had a hard time letting go of certain phrases. But thankfully I am past that. Mary Kole had a great article yesterday on this.)   
  • Make sure each chapter has its own plot. (This time around, this book, I am really paying closer attention to this one. That is why I outlined. So far it is working almost perfectly for me, though I just hit a chapter that isn't as cut and dry, I still think it will work well. I heard somewhere (wish I had a link) where they said every chapter should be it's own story. We know that there should be a beginning, middle, and end, just like the entire book, butg I guess I never thought of a chapter as its own story. That's a good thing to keep in mind. Especially since each should be gripping, have specific business, and propell the story forward.)

Now, I know there are a million things you need to think about while revising, ticks, adverb use, making sure you build to the climax and keep the reader excited, but these are the things I've been thinking about lately (plus some). Now I'm not going to ask for your list of edits you normally go through, since I did it in another post, but I want to know from you, as a reader, what do you see as a common mistake in published work that you wish the author had noticed beforehand? For me, this is something to watch out for. Since we all know we want our work to be the absolute best it can be. I don't simply want to reach to that stage where my book will be acceptable to an agent, I want to shoot past that. (when in reality if I do that maybe I will hit the ready-for-agent stage at most).

What are your thoughts dear readers?

1 comment:

David Powers King said...

Excellent point across the board, especially in giving each chapter its own plot. I enjoyed your post.

I gave you a shout-out on my blog. :)