April 3, 2017

April #InkRipples - Workshop on Revision

This month’s topic of revision comes at a perfect time for me because I am getting ready to start revisions myself. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but also stage some revision exercises. So loosen up those revision fingers ladies and gents, because you are participating in the first ever #InkRipples Workshop. Free of charge no less. You lucky little devils!

Revision Tip #1

The first thing you need before you start your revisions is a completed first draft. That might sound obvious, but there are people who revise while drafting. Don’t. It’s a waste of time. For your revisions to be good and useful you need to know the full story arc and how each character contributes to it. My advice is to put that time to better use by continuing that draft!

Revision Tip #2

Second tip to productive revisions: Time away. Rapacious readers demand faster publications from their favorite authors, so it’s easy to get swept up in their fury and draft, revise, edit, publish. But do your readers a favor and take time away from your manuscript before you revise. If you aren’t a voracious writer, then go out and live life. Do your spring cleaning, see the school play, have coffee with friends. If you are a productive writer, write something else. NOT the next book in the series. Get away from that plot, that setting, those characters. However you do it, get them out of your head completely. Your fresh eyes combined with your intimate knowledge of the plot, characters, pacing, etc, do more to take your story to the next level than any other writing trick.
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Okay, let’s do some work. I’m about to start revisions on Guardian’s Touch, the second book in the Touched by Afterlife series I’m writing under my other pen name, LA Dragoni. (I publish books for the grown ups among us under that name.) I’ve got a bad guy in the story named Churl. Here is a sound bite from one of his appearances.

(1st example)

The problem here is you can’t tell that he’s a bad guy. The reader doesn’t get a feel for his uneducated, street tough, bullying character in the example above. Plus his speech should be more distinct so that even without a dialogue tag a reader would know who is speaking. So I might revise like so:


Now it’s your turn. Take the first example and decide what kind of character Churl is in YOUR story. Is he southern? The professor type? Female? Post your rewrite of the passage in comments letting us know what character type you’re shooting for. If you have any questions about revision, ask. I'll try to answer them as April continues. Come back next Monday for murder and mayhem.

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

10 comments:

  1. Good tips! Popping in quick so no example here, but I will definitely be applying this to my own revisions.

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    1. I'm a really, really nice person and sometimes I have to rewrite my 'bad guys and gals' several times before they are actually bad enough. Sigh. But that's what revision is all about, huh?

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  2. "Yeah, this place is shrinking like a plate-full of my granny's biscuits." Churl looked over his shoulder and dropped his voice to a whisper. "C'mon y'all quick. Hide in the corners where none of 'em will see us."

    My guess is you can tell who is talking? I hope...

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    1. Aw - a good ole Southern boy. And now I want biscuits and gravy!

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  3. "You're right. That table's closer to the couch than it was an hour ago. The walls must be moving fraction of an inch at a time." Churl looked over his shoulder and whispered, "Let's hide behind that big fern in the corner and figure a way out of here."

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    1. Trish, so great of you to visit! And I love your re-write. It's surprisingly fun to see my character changed up like this.

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  4. Timely tips since I'm revising now too. Will think about your character, but gotta switch over to the ball game. Looks like a great month.

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    1. Good luck with your revisions. No homework required, just something fun to get your mind thinking about character. You can stay concentrated on your own characters this month. ;)

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  5. I think deepening characterization is one of the biggest places edits should be concentrated. That's usually where the biggest issues lie.

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    1. I agree. Most of the time it's the character - their journey, their emotion, their decisions - that the reader relates too and makes the reader fall in love with a story.

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