Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Revision is a Process NBtM

Blurb:
A first draft holds the possibility of what will be a great story. Revision turns that rough diamond into a spectacular gem worth a reader's money and time.

Writers are individuals but to be a producing writer means creating a system to revise and polish a work so the reader thoroughly enjoys the story. REVISION IS A PROCESS is a guidebook for writers and authors that shows how a simple 12-step process can be tailored to eliminate the most common and chronic maladies of writing genre fiction. This valuable guidebook contains secrets, tips, practical advice, how-to's, and why-to's for taking the frustration out of self-editing.


Excerpt:
From Section 9 - Said is not Dead
         
One of the most controversial aspects of writing dialogue is the use of said as a speech tag. Some think using said is pedestrian and boring, others pepper every line of dialogue with said for fear the reader won't know who is speaking. The fact is that said is nearly invisible to a reader. However, overuse is a common problem, so delete as many as possible without jeopardizing clarity or use beats. (Revisit the Oubliette example on the previous page. Said was not used. Beats were.)

In your review to minimize using said, watch for LY or ING ending speech tags like: "Drop dead," she said dramatically. That tells (and does so poorly). Instead show with a beat: "Drop dead." The anger in her voice was unmistakable. You should avoid such tags as "Of course," he said knowingly (which has an ING and an LY). You may catch the LY and ING tags in the passivity check, which is discussed in Section 11. However, don't mistake the ING words when they're necessary, such as "Oh, that dialogue speech tag has a participle added to it," Marsha said, squinting at the underlined word on the page.

Yes, that's right, squinting is part of a participle phrase, which can be useful in speech tags.



Background of the book

Okay, I will admit it. I began writing as a Pantser, one who writes by the seat of their pants. I also fell for all the rhetoric about BICHOK (Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard) and let it all flow out as it may.

Of course, that led to extremely messy first drafts wrought with all kinds of problems that had to be fixed or manuscripts ended up in the closet because they dead-ended. Overhauling a completed draft drove me crazy.

Out of such hair-pulling frustrations, I shouted "There has to be a better way!" Not only did I want a better way to overhaul a manuscript but I also sought accurate advice on streamlining the process of telling a story. It's not enough to write well, it's a matter of telling a story well from the get-go.

So I went on a six-month binge of reading and studying all the how-to books I could borrow from the library and buying some that dealt only with revising. That flood of information was an eye-opener. It led to me realizing there were actually ten categories of how writers generate stories. And I was not a Pantser but a Foundation type of writer. (If you're interested in knowing what the 10 Types of Writers are, request a free copy).

Knowing that the story "dump" I get has everything I need to know about a story led to my establishing a Project Bible for all my writing projects. Such knowledge means I answer all the pertinent story questions before I write, netting me the broad brush strokes of the plot, characters, etc. Which means I do not have to overhaul an entire story or, worse, begin a story only to have it dead-end.

However, just because I turn out better first drafts doesn't mean I'm home free. There will always be elements that need looked at, evaluated, rewritten, or checked for. So I came up with my Master Revision Cheat Sheets.

In 2015, at my Writers Cheat Sheets Blog, I did a twelve-part series on the process of revision, going from the Big Picture items to the Final Checks. At the end of the year, I promised my readers to put the series in a book. REVISION IS A PROCESS—HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUR OF SELF-EDITING was published in April. However, in this guidebook, I not only added more information, I included a Revision Master Cheat Sheet checkoff list.

One thing every writer needs to keep in mind, and which I constantly stressed in REVISION IS A PROCESS, is that revision is a process. It's about not reading through a story a million times trying to find and fix things but searching for specifics and fixing them (and only them) before moving on to the next item to check for.

Do you have to do all twelve steps of the process? Of course not. After all, some things you know you did right from the onset. However, other things you know you need to check so an editor won't waste their time pointing out the same things a million times. Having a revision process also means your book is less likely to have errors that will turn off readers, editors, and agents.

Now, for you Pantsers, I have a question for you— How many times, on average, would you say you go through a draft to get the words right and sort the story out? Then add to that the number of times you go through the work to polish the grammar and punctuation. Please share your findings with a comment.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.


Author Bio and Links:
Catherine E. McLean's lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hardcover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include JEWELS OF THE SKY, KARMA & MAYHEM, HEARTS AKILTER, and ADRADA TO ZOOL (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and adventure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is REVISION IS A PROCESS - HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUT OF SELF-EDITING.

Hub Website    |    Website for Writers    |    Writers Cheat Sheets Blog
LinkedIn    |    Facebook    |    Twitter    |    Pinterest    |    Amazon Author Page

Buy Links:
Amazon     |     Barnes & Noble

22 comments:

  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and entering for a chance at the gift card prize. Have a great day!

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  2. Thanks, Catherine. I'm one who revises by reading a story multiple times looking for mistakes of all kinds. Focusing on one type of error at a time makes sense.

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    1. Not only does focusing on one aspect at a time make sense, doing so means you don't worry that you missed something. I wish you all the best with your writing. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

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  3. Replies
    1. REVISION IS A PROCESS is more than interesting. It's a different way to look at the task of self-editing that can give a writer peace of mind because they know they produced an awesome story to present to readers, editors, or agents. If you go to the website (www.writerscheatsheets.com), click on the button to view the table of contents. And thank you so much for stopping by!

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  4. sounds like a very interesting book, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. As I just told Rite (above), the book is more than interesting. It's a practical guide that can be tailored for an individual and how they write and revise. Take a look at the 12-steps of a revision process by going to www.WritersCheatSheets and clicking on the button for the Table of Contents. And many thanks for stopping by today!

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  5. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I wish you all the best with your writing.

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  6. The number of revisions I do depends on how much something nags at me when I reread it!

    --Trix

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    1. Having a good inner ear that detects kazoos in a text is helpful. Thanks for commenting, and I wish you all the best with your writing.

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  7. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

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  8. Seems like I have been working on the same story for the last three years via NaNoWriMo. Tried working with a revision format with last year's first draft but it all fell apart regardless. This year's first draft uses a couple different characters and touches on a couple of "older", meaning number of draft old, characters as well.

    Good luck with your tour and revision is a formidable beast, but impossible to work through (or so I've heard) :)

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    1. Hi, Rose - So sorry to hear the format for revision you tried didn't work. However, don't fall for the rhetoric. Producing writers find ways to streamline their writing process so they don't make mistakes when drafting a story and then they develop a method to self-edit and polish so they can write a novel a year (or more) that's marketable. I think the trick (if there is one) is to ask multi-published writers what their methods are and try some of the aspects until you find a way to go from idea to published. Like they say, where there is a will, there is a way.

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  9. Ah, so, the first day of the tour has drawn to a close. Thank you for having me as a guest. To all who commented, strive to write well and tell a story well.

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  10. As a relatively new author, I think that this book is a great idea and I will definitely be reading ASAP. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  11. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

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