Monday, October 13, 2008

You Can Always Learn New Revision Techniques

This is me sometimes in the picture - frantically trying to make my manuscript the best it can be. Going over and over it, checking the flow of the story, checking grammar, checking for words that spellcheck misses. All important areas so that your story, and not the glaring mistakes, comes forth to the editor's eye.
For me, I tend to write and write whatever comes into my mind and worry about the rest later. I am not a proficient typist either, so the spelling is atrocious. Sometimes I will go back to spellcheck and it is so bad, I can't even figure out what it is I was trying to say! I did take a typing class in high school, but I have not gotten much better, even with the dozen books I have written! But going back over with spellcheck also enables me to go back over the sentences and the story in general. Even if I have to do it many times. And through that careful perusal, I am able to pick out places where the story drags, the sentences are in the wrong place, or even sentences that can be deleted altogether.
One of the best classes I took at the Philadelphia Write His Answer conference was on revising your work. Every author needs to take a course like this, no matter how many books they have published. There are always new things to learn to make your work shine even brighter. And I found out about redundancy with words, choosing the best of two actions in a sentence (not both actions), dialogue (such as the author "says" things, not does things when speaking such as sigh, laugh), and as this one teacher from the Christian Writers Guild said - "resist the urge to explain (RUE)" - such as - Sylvia was frustrated. She paced the length of the room. This can simply be stated - Sylvia paced the length of the room (as the frustration level is already implied by the action).
Now I have written quite few bocks, but these types of revision techniques were important to learn. Especially now, as I am working to revise my latest mss in progress. I can employ them to make my work tighter and shinier. And hopefully land that elusive contract as a result.

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