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Sunday, November 29, 2009

You Can Call Me Michelangelo


So I didn't plan on taking a break from blogging over this splendiferously long weekend, but I have to tell you- I got a lot done this weekend writing-wise. I also cleaned the house, cooked a whole lot, and painted half of my living room. And I met with my beta readers!

Their feedback was awesome- I've already integrated a lot of their suggestions into Major Revision #3. It's nice to have fresh eyes take a look at the manuscript. Also, I found it rather eerie that their suggestions were almost all things that I pondered as I was writing, but blew off, thinking it was only me who would care about them. But no, I was wrong. And there were only a couple big issues, ones I think I've resolved.

So here's the rundown of my major revisions so far. Yesterday, I was thinking that writing a book is kind of like Michelangelo creating David. (Yes, I just compared myself to Michelangelo. I have delusions of grandeur.)

Revision #1: Michelangelo chips away enough marble to tell that he's making some sort of human figure. Oh wait, is that an arm coming out of David's head? Gee whiz, gotta fix that!

I aligned the plot.

Revision #2: David now has two arms, two legs, and one head, all properly attached. Maybe he needs some hair- the blockhead look isn't working for him.

I cleaned up the dialogue and plugged up some plot holes.

Revision #3: Michelangelo takes care of some details- muscles, eyes, nose, lips. Oh yeah, and the slingshot. Almost forgot about the slingshot.

I slashed a lot of unnecessary words and sealed the final gaps in the plot.


Okay, so by the end of Revision #3 it should be pretty shiny, but there's still be some polishing to do. Heck, when I was in Florence a few years ago I couldn't see most of David because he was being restored. Art is an ongoing process. And I'm not going to get into how David's hands are waaaaaaay too big for his body. Even a masterpiece can have flaws, right?

So, what's your revision style? And more importantly, did you have a good weekend?

20 comments:

Paul Greci said...

I like your analogy. I'm not sure what my revision style is, so much happens. Right now I am rewriting a book from a different point of view. It feels more like a new story but the premise is the same.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Interesting, Paul! Not to talk about Twilight, but Stephenie Meyer did that with the first book in the series. It's not published or finished, but it was actually better than the first!

I switch points of view in my book- there's Hatshepsut and three other primary characters. There have been multiple scenes where I've rewritten from Hat's perspective to someone else's. It's pretty interesting what you can learn about your protagonist from another character!

Susan R. Mills said...

I had a great weekend. I'm glad you were able to get so much done. Your revision style sounds very similar to mine. I'm in the middle of #3 and I've made a lot of progress. I can't wait until I'm finished so that I can go back and do some additional polishing. Great analogy!

Amalia T. said...

Paul--I did that with an earlier novel, and it was the best thing I could have done for the book. Everything that I had struggled with in the first version just fell right into place. The story changed, but it was a lot better.

Stephanie-- I totally agree with you about the first twilight book being better from Edwards POV. I really wish she had written the book from his POV to begin with, honestly.

What's my revision style? Well, I revise while I write. Not excessively or anything, but I periodically go back and reread and revise as I work forward. Maybe it's just the previous chapter, or maybe it's from the first page. If I write a chapter I'm not sure about, I let it rest overnight and go back to it the next day first thing.

When I sit down to write at first with a new idea, there usually isn't a lot of structure. I just write and see where things are going. That material then becomes later source material for what will become my manuscript. It isn't quite an outline, and it isn't quite the book. Sometimes it's just a few scenes, or a few pages, other times it's more than 200 pages that turns into a trilogy. It's this source material that I end up turning out for NaNoWriMo for the most part. I'll probably sit down and start all over again in January or February, and I'll probably insert a new character POV and write some entirely new scenes to flesh things out.

and this is the longest comment ever.
P.S. my weekend was fabulous :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Susan- I hope you're having as much fun as I am with Revision #3. With the other two there was a lot of, "This is awful!" but I'm not having that now. As much as I love the spontaneity of first drafts my favorite part of writing is the final polishing.

Amalia- Yay for long comments! It sounds like your first drafts are definitely spontaneous! And I do the same thing with chapters I'm unsure about. I've even reread them the next day and knew they were bad, but kept them anyway. And then cut them during Revision #1.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Good to have you back! I love the analogy.

My revision style begins with my husband, who lovingly rips the story to shreds. When I recover, I revise. Then, I move on to reading buddies for comments and start over. :)

Steph Damore said...

Like Amalia, I revise while I write too, but that doesn't mean I don't go back again and again. I've edited Beauty Secrets three times thus far. I've since thought about making additional changes, but I'm lacking the motivation right now. Hopefully an agent can fuel that fire. In the meantime, I'm drafting out a new YA novel. It's been fun so far...

Stephanie Thornton said...

Shannon- My husband does that too, but in a good way. :)

Steph- Yay for the new novel! I really think a manuscript is always a WIP, at least until it's in print. Even then things can change- there's a new issue of Pope Joan coming out that I'd be interested to see. And I read an interview by Obama saying that he still cringes to read parts of Dreams of My Father, wishing he could fix all the awkward phrases.

Stephanie said...

Wow...never noticed how huge Dave's hands are!!! You are totally right!!! LOL!!

Great post...love the comparison!!

Thanks for following my blog!! I look forward to reading yours!

Stephanie L. McGee said...

You know why that is, about David's hands? The statue was originally supposed to be on a building, high above the view plane. People would look up at it so the hands would seem more in proportion from that angle. It's all about visual trickery!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Have you ever noticed how many blogging Stephanie's there are? I have trouble keeping up with all of you! :)

Voidwalker said...

LOL... Can you guess the first thing I did when I finished reading this? Yep, I went and looked at the picture of David's hands haha.

I never noticed that.

As for the revisions, I'm glad to hear you are making progress. I still have so much revision, I'm really considering restarting it, but that's another topic. Keep it up, you are so close!

Tamika: said...

We should always speak in granduer concerning our writing genius! Yes, you heard me right!

I love the strong analogy. I will have to revisit this post in the near future. Rewrites loom at the base of the horizon for me, very soon to puncture the sky.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Congrats on your progress! Aren't beta readers the best? And I've found the same thing, the little things that gave me pause when I was writing are often the things my readers call me out on later.

Abby Annis said...

Congrats on all your progress, writing and otherwise! Sounds like you're doing awesome. I don't know that I've actually developed a revision style yet, but whatever it is it definitely involves a lot of rewriting of my opening and my ending. ;) Loved the analogy.

Bane of Anubis said...

I revise heavily as I go. Afterward, I go through and try to attack my bad habits or lazy writing (e.g., adverbs, 'as's, passives). I usually cut most of my extraneous (at least what I consider so) paragraphs/musings somewhere in between.

After all's said and done, I start worrying about tone/voice (and never stop worrying).

- once you're ready for your next group, remember to hit me up (unless you've already got one lined up).

Lisa and Laura said...

Hoorah for revisions! There's a masterpiece buried in those pages, right?

Stephanie Thornton said...

Bane- I'm culling those lazy writing issues right now. I'm not sure how some of them slipped my notice, but they did.

Lisa & Laura- I hope so!

Stephanie M.- I actually didn't know that! Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie- Thanks for stopping by!

Abby- I've lost track of how many times I've written and rewritten my first and last chapters. I'm still working on them.

Roni- I'm learning to trust myself more now that I know I'm not cuckoo. If I think something's wrong, now I know I'm probably right.

Tamika- I will remember to be grand from now on! I think you're right!

Voidwalker- You learn something new every day, right? And thanks for the encouragement! I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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