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July 12, 2010


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Maureen Betita

How can you make me feel optimistically energized about it and totally bewildered and ready to run off a cliff at the same time?

Oh. That's right, because that is the reality of this stage!

I'm working on agent revision notes at the moment and finding it a much more meticulous task than I thought it would be. Better, I guess to hear "fix this pronoun" than "fix the conflict" ...

Sigh. So tired of pronouns, already.


Terri Osburn

It's like you ripped this blog out of my head. Except there are evidently no metaphors in my head so you revised it and made it better. *sigh*

I meant to attack my MS in the way you describe, then lost my way and tried to do it all at once. No idea how I ventured so far off the path. Since life has turned a bit crazy (right when I had planned for NO crazy) I'm stepping back for now. Due to circumstances, there was no distance between me and this first MS before revisions.

It's time we take a break and see other stories. Just for a while.

Donna Cummings

Terri, I love that "It's time we take a break and see other stories". That's one of the best ways to get your mind back in the revision game. Nothing like a little sibling rivalry!

I've tried to do the revisions all at once before, and that was when I REALLY wanted to run off to the circus. I've also tried going from small to big, but then ended up having to re-do some of the small items after drafting a new scene.

You do have a lot going on right now, so I think it's good to step back and give yourself a chance to focus on the "crazy" that's appeared in your life. :) Just make sure you keep notes so you can put it in a new story!

Donna Cummings

Maureen, somehow my comment to your post disappeared. Aaugh! So now I have to revise my original thoughts -- LOL

I didn't mean to cause duelling reactions in you about revising! But it can be both maddening and exhilarating sometimes. I'm glad you got your agent's revision notes. It's good to have that level of edits, since it increases your chances of intriguing an editor. :) It also means your story is in good shape, and you're essentially doing "tweaks".

Maureen Betita

Donna - Don't encourage Terri to read other books. She views then through a lense of "I can't do that...I'm not good enough..."

Let's tackle her, take her good author books away and make her read crap for a while.

And thanks, you have an encouraging viewpoint of the revising. And it's going fine. So far!

Donna Cummings

Oh, my bad, Maureen. LOL I misinterpreted Terri's seeing "other stories" to mean other stories of HERS!

And I'm really glad to hear your revising is going well. It's such a different process than we're used to, but it's a great way to learn how to improve our stories. :)

Terri Osburn

I did mean other stories of my own. LOL! But the good news is, I've done a bit of revising tonight and I like my story. So I don't have a metaphor in every paragraph. Or even one per page. LOL! My voice just does not use metaphors, I'm going to have to live with that.

Or course, editors likely won't want to live with that but I'll cross that bridge when it comes. Not promising the ARGH! won't happen again, but for now, I'm doing better.

Donna Cummings

I'm glad you did some revising, Terri, and even better that you liked it! I'm looking forward to reading your story, I know that. :)

Is there a rule about metaphors? I think most of mine end up on my blog posts. LOL

And I try to suggest what works for me rather than insisting it's a rule, or the only way things can be done. Heck, what works for me today may be completely different tomorrow, or with the next book. LOL

Terri Osburn

I don't think there's a rule about metaphors, but they are such a great tool. Perfect way to show instead of tell while revealing hidden tidbits about your characters both to the reader and to the POV character. And when the metaphors are original? All the better.

Metaphors are my achille's heel right now. But I've settled on the idea that I can use them as dress up in the final polishing pass, if necessary. For now, that's working.

Donna Cummings

Ah, that's a good point about metaphors, and the showing, not telling. There's always a lot of things that can be done in the final polishing pass. After revising and re-reading it, you can see certain areas more clearly because you don't get as caught up in the story! (That's what happens to me. LOL)

And definitely keep doing whatever works for you! That's really the only "rule" I enforce! LOL


Good luck on the revisions! I commented earlier, but lost my post. :(

Great points here! I think I'd make my writing life easier if I could separate the two (writing and revision) more as separate stages. I feel compelled to polish some sections to a shine while leaving others with [insert research on so and so here] -- meaning, well...to be written. LOL

Donna Cummings

Melissa, sorry your post got lost -- that happened to me yesterday -- on my own blog! LOL

I used to think writing and revising had to be done at the same time, and it made me freeze up and I couldn't do anything. So I'm glad to have them as separate distinct entities. But you have to do what works for you. I like the [insert research here] -- that's a great idea!

I also find that I need to "shake up" the process, so today I took a hard copy of the manuscript and went through it with a red pen, rather than doing it on my laptop. I saw some things quite a bit differently this way!


I'm nearly finished with the copy-editing stuff and then plan on printing out and doing the read aloud stuff... It will be the first time I try this and am curious to see how it will work.

Donna Cummings

Yay for you! I've been doing the red-pen edits for a long while today, so I think I'm going to switch to inputting them on the computer -- keep my brain on its toes, so to speak! LOL

Terri Osburn

Printing the MS out for a good run through, making notes along the way, was part of the revision class Maureen and I just finished. And if you don't want to waste the paper, you can also change the font and spacing in the document, anything that will make it look totally different from what you've been reading for months.

It's interesting how we have to trick out minds to see what we miss.

Maureen Betita

Yeah, but I want to stroll about the room indulging my inner thespian, so I need it in paper... Plus the nice dramatic pencil scritching that will go into the whole thing...

I may print it double sided...

Donna Cummings

Terri, on these revisions, I'm doing the red pen on the hard copy, and then inputting them, so it feels like I'm going over it a couple times. I've also increased the font size to 120% -- LOL -- which does give you a totally different view of things.

So between BOTH of these things, I feel like I'm seeing things in this manuscript that I'm not even sure *I* put in there! LOL

Donna Cummings

Maureen, I've never read my own manuscript out loud, although I've heard it suggested before. I think it makes me feel a little too self-conscious. LOL Maybe I should find someone else to read it for me!

Terri Osburn

Donna, it took me days to convince Maureen to read this out loud. Don't ruin it! LOL! Seriously, I highly recommend it. You'll catch things you would never catch just by reading in your head. Especially in the dialogue.

Maybe it was my years on the radio talking to myself in a little room, but I never get self-conscious about it. And I'm a very self-conscious person.

Donna Cummings

Oops! Sorry, Terri! She did say she wanted to indulge her "inner thespian", so I think I'm safe. :)

I may give this a try. If you can do it, I can too (as long as no one else is listening!)

Terri Osburn

My cat knows my entire book. LOL!

Donna Cummings

Maybe I could get the squirrels and the chipmunks outside to sit still for a minute and listen to me read!

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