Revisions: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em

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Revisions: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em

You worked hard on your first draft of your book. You edited it several times, had an alpha reader, and sent it out to a few beta readers. While waiting to hear back from the readers, you were probably thinking, “I might need to make a few changes, but all in all, the story is great. It won’t be long before I publish it and start making some money.”

The day has arrived. The readers have reported back to you with lots of comments and suggestions. Reading through what they wrote, you realize you need to do more than a few minor corrections. The book is not ready for prime time. Your readers have pointed out a number of problems: not staying in point of view, too much telling instead of showing, boring descriptions that do nothing but slow the story down. Confusion between who is saying what or who is doing what and why.

Once you’ve absorbed what they told you — after you throw things at the wall, threaten to never write another word, and consider starting a bonfire with everything you’ve ever written — it’s time to sit down and fix these problems. That’s right, I’m talking about revisions. Yes, something writers don’t like to do, since that means more words need to be cut, scenes rewritten, maybe even the removal of a favorite character. I’m at a point right now where I need to decide whether to cut a couple of characters, or combine them into one new one. Decisions. Decisions.

You need to go through your book scene by scene, making sure they belong. Do they move the story along, or slow things down? Make sure you keep the comments from your readers handy when you’re doing this. Everything you write in your story should advance it in one way or another. The last thing you want to do is lose your reader’s interest through unnecessary descriptions or scenes that don’t go anywhere.

One trick you can use to help in revising your story, is going through the entire book, and for each scene ask the following questions:

  1. What is the current pov character attempting to do?
  2. Why are they doing this?
  3. What or who is preventing them from their goal?
  4. If they don’t reach the goal, what will happen?
  5. Do they succeed or fail?
  6. Is anything in this scene important to the main plot or any of the minor plots in the story?

When you’ve gone through the scenes in your book, make a note of the plot holes that exist, and use the above questions to help create the scene to fill  the hole.

Remember, you don’t have to cut everything that doesn’t move the story forward. After all, your characters don’t’ live in a vacuum. Your characters need to be living, breathing people to your readers, not some stick figure going from point A to point B, doing this doing that… The End. They have every day lives which can get in the way of achieving a certain goal or task. You need some fluff, but don’t over do it.

Another thing to consider, when you are reading a book do you skip over parts? If so, ask yourself why. When you read through your work, keep in mind why you skipped over things in books you’ve read.

Love it or hate it, revision is part of the writing process, just like editing. It helps you fine tune your story, giving your readers something enjoyable to read.

May the words ever flow!

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Writing Quotes — P.D. James

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A Perfect 10 with Allan Hudson

Author Don Massenzio

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Allan Hudson on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan Hall, Staci Troilo

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a…

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Writing Quotes — Mark Twain

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Writing Tip — 12

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Each writer has a different way of dealing with the problem of writer’s block. Jumping ahead in the story worked for me. Others move on to another writing project for a while, then returning to the work they are having trouble with. Some go the ‘stream of consciousness’ route, writing down whatever comes to mind, not stopping until they have a page or two filled. Another way to get past the block is play the ‘What If?’ game. What if my main character goes here instead of here? What if the antagonist does this instead of that? If you try this out, don’t throw out anything you come up with. You never know, there might be another story lurking in the What ifs.

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What is at the heart of your writing?

Author Don Massenzio

Many of us who are independent authors with blogs offer advice, talk about our books, interact with other authors and review their works. We do this without seeking monetary rewards and achieve a modicum of recognition.

Why do we do this? What motivates many of us with full-time day jobs to spend our free time working passionately at something with a minimal financial return?

Image result for readersWhat do readers want?

First, let’s talk about what we do want to achieve in writing. I know that one of my first considerations is attracting readers. In order to attract readers, a writer must determine what readers desire in the books they read.

To consider this, I first think of what I’m looking for in a book when I sit down to read it. We all have busy lives. For me, reading provides an escape. It allows my brain to change gears and go places…

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Extra Innings – Part 40

Author Don Massenzio

This is the second to last installment of Extra Innings. A few of you have been with me on this journey and it has been a long one, 12 weeks shy of a full year.

This is the second weekly serial I have written and it has taught me a few lessons that I will likely cover in a separate blog post.

One definitive lesson is about continuity. As I go back to past weeks looking for information on what I’ve previously written, I’ve found a number of continuity issues with back story and past character events.

When I turn this serial into a book, I will correct these things. Normally, when a book is written, continuity checking is one of those things that beta readers help out with. This serial has been all me. It’s over 70,000 words of stream of consciousness writing that, while it is a decent…

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