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A Word on Revisions

First drafts are fun. They're fun because they're crap. They're fun because it's OK that they're crap. You have an idea. You have characters. You have a kinda-sorta plot in the back of your mind. If you write first drafts the way I write first drafts, your plot is vague. You let your characters pretty much take the lead. It's an adventure. Every page is a surprise. If it sucks, it sucks. You already know you'll throw a lot of it out. That doesn't stop you from loving every minute.

Revisions are way funner.

You have a mess of a story. Characters with no development. Scenes that end in the middle of nowhere. 20 pages of useless description...or no description at all. Time lines that make no sense. Mysteriously disappearing characters, or ones who appear once out of nowhere. Talking heads. Utterly useless dialogue that was fun to write, but doesn't advance the story and takes up space. Plot points that are forgotten by the middle of the manuscript...or the One Brilliant Idea you think of at the second to last page and now you can't figure out how to work it in.

Here are some GREAT REVISION TIPS FROM aprilhenry.

When you revise, you take ALL of this jumble and turn it into something readable. Kind of like Bones when she discovers all those charred random body parts and--voila!--turns it into a human being. OK, a dead one. Maybe a bad analogy. But you get my point.

It's a painstaking process. I can write a first draft in 6 weeks. A first "good" revision takes me many months and even then it's not something I'm always ready to share. But damn--it's FUN! It's like digging your hands into a big wad of clay. You can do whatever you want with it.

 photo clay.jpg

(Maybe not THIS, though...)

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Jeannine Garsee
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