She edits full manuscripts at the speed of light. She rewrites entire chapters in a single setting. She finishes her beta swaps before her promised dead lines. She lives off of coffee and doesn’t need sleep. She’s REVISION GIRL.
Not all revisions feel this easy. Some are like that mountain of laundry staring at you from across the room. A chore. But some revisions…some of them are more fun than writing the manuscript the first time. When we’re working on THOSE revisions, everything seems to come easier. The words seem to write themselves. So what makes one revision easier than another?
3 things. The reason. The story. And the setting.
A better manuscript is a better chance at getting an agent. Period.
The reason. This is a big one and can really effect your excitement and attitude toward the revision. This is one that we don’t often have control over. Are you revising because you’ve received an R&R from an agent? Excitement levels high! Or is it because you got negative feedback from a contest or a CP (who loves you enough to tell you the truth)? The reason can be a joy kill or a motivator. You can take control by making the improvement of your MS your reason. A better manuscript is a better chance at getting an agent. Period. So, for this one, change your focus.
Show up at your MC’s doorstep with flowers and introduce yourself as though this is the first time you’ve met.
The story. Sometimes we start out excited about our stories, and somewhere along the journey, the love peters out for whatever reason. Maybe we hate what the characters have become. Maybe we don’t have a creative way of resolving the conflict, or we’ve just plain and simple been working on it for too long. Here are some ways to reignite those flames for your MS. Take a break. Step away. Work on something else. Or, if there’s no time for that, change character names and some aspect of their personality so you see them in a new light. Sort of like reinventing a relationship with a spouse. Show up at your MC’s doorstep with flowers and introduce yourself as though this is the first time you’ve met.
Make your writing time your secret little indulgence you can’t wait to get home to, and it will show in your writing!
And finally, the setting. This can be anything from the room you’re writing in, to the time in your life you are in. Personally, I need a quiet comfortable place. I’m not a big desk writer. I have a big ugly beat up brown love seat in my bedroom. That’s my spot, yo. It’s where the magic happens. And if my husband decides he wants to watch TV, I bust out the Bose sound canceling headphones and go to town. Time is another thing, though. Not being able to write can cause frustration that can show up in your writing. Scenes can become rushed, and the quality can become affected. Here are some suggestions. Late night writing. It’s my secret quiet time, and it feels adventurous to be up late with your music pumping. I take a power nap after work so I don’t feel the repercussions the next day. Maybe you’re a morning person. Good for you, freak! Just kidding. I love you. So, do it in the morning then. And music! This part has made such a difference for me, lately. I’m a lyric free girl myself, so I’ve found some killer movie soundtracks to write to. 8tracks.com is an awesome resource with hundreds of free albums to pick from! Inception and Interstellar are some of my faves! Make your writing time your secret little indulgence you can’t wait to get home to, and it will show in your writing!
What about you? What are some things that effect the quality of your revisions? How do you get your revised on?