Revision

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3 Tips For a Better First Revision

The first revision is probably the most important factor in sculpting your novel. One of my favorite quotes to express this idea is by Shannon Hale who wrote: “I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” The first revision...

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Self-Editing Advice: How to Tackle Character Consistency

Keeping your character(’s) traits consistent is very a important step in polishing your manuscript, especially if it’s written from multiple points of view (POVs). For example, if you have one character who constantly swears, and has a tendency to lose his/her temper at the drop of a hat, you do not want your other...

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5 Things to Look For in a Critique Partner

Writing can be a very solitary profession. And most of us like it that way – huddled at our vintage desks or curled up on our couches, muttering to ourselves while our coffee grows cold. But once that draft is finished…then what? Well, I suggest you don’t run a quick spell check, type up a...

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How to Critique Friends’ Writing

When friends know that we’re writers, they sometimes ask us to read and critique their works-in-progress. Handling these requests can be awkward. As friends, we want to help; as writers, we want to protect our own writing time. If we offer professional critiquing services, as many of us do, we also want to protect...

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Re-Vision? Easier Said Than Seen

The most difficult aspect of revision is that the process requires seeing our own mistakes. That speck of dust in our neighbor’s eye is a lot easier to see than the log in our own. I learned most about sentence-level revision from Richard Lanham, distinguished scholar, writer, and UCLA professor, who has written a...

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Polish Your Work Before Submitting: 6 Revision Tips

1. Listen to your critique group. When I first began to write, I was fortunate to meet some wonderful writers who became fabulous friends. We met regularly to work on our manuscripts. We worked to give constructive feedback to one another and because we listened to each other, our writing got better. We listened...

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Working with a Publishing House Editor

Prior to working with Susan Swinwood, senior editor of Mira Books, my only experience with editors dated back to my college days. A short story called “ The Sand Castle” was picked up for our college literary magazine. The editor said he loved my story, but added that it could use “a spot of...

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6 Keys to Revising Your Fiction

1) Make sure you’re in love. I’m not a genius, my stories are not born lovely and perfect, their language strong, their plot lean and exciting. I have to work at it—a lot. And I don’t mind, because I enjoy editing. But I know there’s a big difference between revising a story I love...

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6 Simple Keys To Revising Your Fiction

1. Once you have finished a good first draft don’t look at it for a while. Go back to it after having some space and you will see it afresh. This is even more important for novels. When you have spent such a long time on a piece of prose you really need to...

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Revise Like You Mean It

There is a fairly common misconception about what >b>revision means. That is, if you are a talented writer, you will write an inspired first draft, which you can perfect by making sentences better, fleshing out characters, checking facts, catching continuity problems, and the like. But real revision – in fiction at least – is...

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How to Deal With Writing Critiques: 3 Helpful Hints

As writers, we live with our stories and characters for years, even decades -- so it is no surprise that when we take those stories out of our heads and put them on the page, our defenses rally to protect them. Hearing critiques becomes an intense and emotional experience. But those protective instincts and...

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Rules for Writing and Revising Your Novel

When you revise, you must go back and fine-tune your work—add, delete—what needs to go in, be taken out. Repair the characters. Do it when your mind is still fresh with the scenes and the characters of that chapter. However, you must be unbiased (which is hard toward what you’ve just written), detached (which...

Footnotes: 5 Articles on Knowing When to Submit

“The most valuable of talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”- Thomas Jefferson Footnotes is a recurring series on the GLA blog where I pick a subject and provide several interesting articles on said topic. This week, I’m serving up five articles on that burning question how do you...

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5 Techniques for Managing Group Critiques

1. Know your group, and tailor your critique sessions accordingly. It’s helpful to begin each reading with a quick introduction, in which the writer is given the opportunity to communicate her needs to the group. 2. Ask each member of the group to read her work aloud, rather than simply giving group members copy to...