Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Revision-it does a story good #amwriting #amrevising

13 Comments

As long as it takes to write the first draft of a book (I mean, normally, not the 8 first drafts I went through for my current WIP), I think it takes 10 times longer to revise it into something worthy of an agent or editor. Or writing teacher, because I want to prove I was paying attention in class πŸ™‚ .

Fourth round of revision, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s stuff to adjust in the storyline. Go figure. I mean, of course each round of revision means refining the story, fine-tuning the plot, tweaking the characters. That’s the whole point. At this point in the process, part of me just wants to toss it aside and work on something that’s much, much closer to a worthy finished product (like that manuscript I queried for two years that I went back to read and now know how to improve).

I have two weeks before I turn the manuscript in to my writing teacher. It’s my “final”, the last task in my journey toward a writing certificate, which does nothing more than give me a bit of “street cred”, but has also been good for learning the craft.

That’s what it’s all about, right? Learning the craft. Practicing what we learn. Learn some more. Keep practicing. The key, though, is having someone review our progress and guide us on improving the craft. It doesn’t do any good to practice the golf swing if you never get that one piece of advice that could knock your handicap down a stroke or two.

We need critique partners to look at a story from the outside, point out weaknesses, and suggest ways to improve the story. We need beta readers to get a wider perspective of the story and ensure we keep the reader’s interest and enjoyment of the overall story.

I would add that we need writing teachers or coaches every so often to help us learn better ways or different ways to build the story with stronger material, better technique, and guide us to become a better writer than we were last month or last year. If you don’t know shifting your grip a quarter-inch will knock a stroke off that drive, you’ll never lower your handicap.

And no, I have no idea where all the golf comparisons came from. I don’t even play golf!

Practice will help us improve. Critique partners and editors will help us improve. Craft books help us learn things we can do to improve our craft. But there’s something to be said about taking a writing class, attending a writing webinar or seminar, or working directly with a coach.

When asked what the best thing I’ve done in my writing journey has been, I will always say choosing to attend a week-long, novel-writing master class and taking online creative writing courses. I have learned so many things (not all of them have stuck, however πŸ™‚ ) over the past few years that I would do it all again just for the refresher.

Okay, so this ended up being an ode to writing teachers. Seriously, though, I feel fortunate to have found a writing teacher (and writing sisters!) who, to this day, continues to inspire and sit on my shoulder like the proverbial angel (devil?), whispering about scene goals, ticking time bombs, touchstones, and sidekicks.

If there’s a National Writing Teachers’ Day, let me know, because I need to send my writing teacher a bottle of wine and some chocolate πŸ˜€

Keep on writing!

Get back to writing, slacker. I’m stealing your chair.

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, four chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

13 thoughts on “Revision-it does a story good #amwriting #amrevising

  1. I enjoyed this post.. Writing teachers are important.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Julie. Revision is really what brings a story together and makes it complete. Some stories need one or two rounds of revisions; others need more. One of my novels needed three. It’s just that way, but the fact is, revision is critical. I always tell my students, too, that revision sets you free when you’re writing that first draft. You know you can always fix it later, if that makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree, Julie. We need to continue learning as we write and classes is a good place to do it. The support of beta readers and critque partners, invaluable. Happy editing:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! Good critique partners and beta readers are some of our best tools as writers, I think. The classes I’ve taken over the past year have really helped me learn more about the craft.

      Have a wonderful week, Denise!

      Like

  4. How true and clear you handle this important subject of critique. It is so valuable and even more so if you
    have an honest and literary friend. The first must come from one’s own careful reading ….and re- reading.
    Quite an exciting process in itself.

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sure your writing teacher would appreciate the wine or chocolate at any time, just because. πŸ™‚

    My youngest daughter came over just now and said, “Awwwww….” as she stared at Zoey. Then she said, “Could you imagine having a cat like that?” She’s in love. πŸ™‚ I guess we both are now.

    Liked by 2 people

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