3 Revision Tips and a New Book

I want to start off with a big accomplishment for me. I successfully completed another National Novel Writing Month draft.

Cheers to all my fellow writers who wrote during the month. Even if you didn’t make 50,000 words just getting into the chair, and writing is a grand achievement.

Congratulations Poster for NaNoWri Winners

My efforts at NaNo were complicated by the fact that I was writing and revising my newest Write for Success book Revise Your Draft and Make It Shine.

This book and the first one, Fast Draft Your Manuscript and Get It Done, contains everything I have learned doing NaNoWri, plus what I have absorbed from my reading, workshops I have taken, and most importantly, my fellow authors.


Fast Draft Your Manuscript and Revise Your Draft Cover Photos

Now there are two!


“The most useful and usable how-to writing workbook I have seen in a long time -maybe ever.” —Christa Bedwin, Professional Editor


Here are Three Revision Tips for You

Revision Tip 1: Let It Rest

One of the most important things I learned after NaNoWri is to put my fast drafts away and let them sit as long as possible before reading for revision. So right now my messy, sloppy, barely readable draft is tucked away in its folder, not to be seen again until January. Meanwhile, I am working on a Holiday short story for all my dedicated Zara’s Readers Club members.

Revision Tip 2: Use a Framework

Make sure you have a model or outline or beat sheet to structure your story around. This can be one you used to draft from, or if you didn’t use one or veered way off course, one that you find that closely matches your genre. So while your draft is resting, spend some time reading similar works or finding a plot template on the web.

Then select just one and stick with it. It is easy to get confused when you try to apply different templates over each other.

Having a structure to compare your draft to is a lifesaver. It will make the entire revision process less stressful and go much faster.

Revision Tip 3: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The structure is the most important part of your novel. You can have fascinating characters and an intriguing setting, but if the reader has no idea what is going on you will lose them. So don’t worry about fixing grammar or spelling or fancying up the language at first. Focus on getting the story structure in place with a strong opening, a well-paced middle, and a satisfying conclusion.

Once you have that, you can polish up your prose all you want.


Revision Workshop

In January I will be teaching the workshop 30 Days of Revision Tips. In this in workshop, you will receive a revision road map with a tip for revising your draft every day for thirty days. By the end of the month, you should be well on the way to having a more organized and polished draft.

Offered by From the Heart Romance Writers January 2021 REGISTER HERE


Revise Your Draft and Make It Shine

For more revision tips, tricks, and time savers, take a peek at my book. It is short and full of checklists designed to keep me and you on track. There are also oodles of links to useful tools and lists, and at the very back, a whole section of tools just for writers of fiction. Available at Amazon for $2.99 or free from Kindle Unlimited

Revise Your Manuscript Cover Image.

Happy Revising!


What do you dislike the most about revision?

I welcome your thoughts and comments

W-Plot Your Way to a Better Scene

~ Plot Your Scene with the W-Plot Method ~

The W-Plot can be used to lay out an entire novel, but it’s true strength is in plotting scenes. I am doing NaNoWr again this year. I love being part of a huge group of writers all excited about writing and encouraging each other every day to do their best. But sometimes when I am writing as fast as I can, I lose track of where a scene is going.

That’s when the W-Plot comes in handy. The W-Plot method can keep a scene from falling flat. It can also get you out of writer’s block when you are fast drafting.

I first learned about the W-Plot from Karen Doctor. (You can get her W-Plot course here)  Simply described, the W-Plot Method lays out the rising and falling tension in the series of events that make up your scene. Here is my version of the W-Plot adapted to writing a scene.

W-Plot Example

 

When I get stuck for an idea while writing a scene, I quickly sketch a W on a sheet of paper and then brainstorm different events that would move the character to and away from his or her goal in the scene. From those, I pick the ones that fit best or are most surprising and then get back to writing.

Want to learn more? Here are some other takes on the W-Plot.

The W-Plot by Heather Dyer

Storyboarding and the W-Plot Chart by Mary Caroll Moore

Happy Writing!


How do you plot your scenes?

Have you ever used the W-Plot Method?

 

NaNoWri starts Tomorrow and I Can’t Wait.

Ready. Set. Go.

Got my plot. Got my characters. Got my GMC outline. Got my alarm set. Everything appears ready for me to dive in and write my first 2000 words (Technically you need to write 1533 a day, but I aim for 2000 words a day – that way I get ahead a bit for the days I can’t write for some reason or other.)

Problem is I also have a dentist appointment, a sister visiting from Scotland, the last broccoli and chard to harvest from the garden, and pizza night with the whole family. Not to mention constant interruptions from children, husband, and telephones. I don’t want to hear one more political robot, please!

See that’s one of the problems with being a writer. You do everything to get into the flow and then BAM something happens to break the flow and if you haven’t reached your word total, you’re cooked. Or at least I am.

Here are somethings I do to get back into the flow.

  1. Do a 1 mile walk, either outside or inside (I use Walk at Home with Leslie Samsome). As I walk I start to think myself back into the story.
  2. I type some gibberish until the flow starts up. It’s a fast draft. Pleanty will be cut before it’s done.
  3. I reread the last paragraph I wrote (no more than that or I get into edit mode)
  4. I reread my outline – especially the dilemma.
  5. I do a journal entry in the POV character’s voice about what they think should happen next.
  6. I give up and promise to write more words the next day by getting up earlier.

Anyone have any other suggestions on how deal with interruptions while fast drafting?

Leave a comment or two!

 

Why NaNoWri fires me up to write faster

NaNoWri or National Novel Writing Month starts on Tuesday. This will be my third year participating. I don’t know why, but somehow tracking words and trying to attain the 50,000 word challenge in 30 days just gets my blood flowing and the creative juices oozing.  So I am getting set for the race to the finish.

NOTE: If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is here’s a brief overview. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. A small group of friends in California got together and challenged each other to write a book in a month and an idea was born. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel during one of the toughest writing months of the year, November. The thought is–that if you can write a book in November, you can write a book at any time of the year.


Nano is also about a group of people participating in this goal all at the same time! There is so much energy in knowing that people all over the world are typing away, struggling to write their story all at the same time. (Though NaNo has the 50k goal, many people use NaNo as a means to move forward with their writing. Some use it to edit, others use it to write multiple short stories, or finish a story they have been working on.) Check out the website at http://nanowrimo.org

So this is how I’m preparing for this year’s challenge.

  1. I took a course in using journaling to develop characters and used my journal entries to dig into the psyches of my main characters. I have many, many pages of notes and a whole lot of tidbits in my head about the strengths and foibles of my people,. And I do mean people. By this piint they are like a real friends and enemies running around in my head.
  2. I wrote a very sloppy synopsis- kind of like telling the story to a friend. This happens and then that happens and so on.
  3. I pasted the synopsis into my NaNo draft and broke the events/actions into pseudo chapters. I can’t seem to get myself to drop the chapter format. But since I alternate POVs in every chapter it does work out okay. And I don’t number them. I make them HEADERS. That way if the find panel is open you can see the chapter and POV and setting right there.
  4. I write the Goal/Motivation/Conflict and the Dilemma for each “chapter” and make those header 2s. Dilemma is really important. That’s the choice the POV character has to make by the end of the chapter/scene. Like – Will I kiss him or not? Will I hide from the bad guy or attack him? That kind of thing.

And that’s it. On November 1 I will sit down and start hitting the keys as fast as I can. If I go blank or get stuck I stick in 4 XXXXs and move on. Later I can search out those XXXX spots when the thought hits on what to do.

So for now. I am dreaming my story and getting my fingers going by writing this post. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know by posting a comment.

Are you doing NaNoWri?