Wednesday 20 November 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 20: Gearing up for Revisions

With just ten days left in this year's NaNoWriMo writing challenge, it's hard to not start getting excited about the end—especially since I've blown past last years total word count, and my story is coming along very nicely.

And sure, there are still words to write—about 3,000 of them, actually. But I've got a perfect plan for December: Revise, revise, revise.

I know, I know...Christmas is coming! And yep, I'll busy decorating, shopping, volunteering, wrapping, and drinking as much hot chocolate as Mom will let me. But I also plan to spend some time going through this story and making it better.

What does that mean?

Basically, it means that I will start to "see" the story again—with fresh eyes, a fresh perspective. Most importantly, with no looming deadline. (Unless of course you're publishing your story somewhere and someone has given you a deadline...)

In this process, you pick apart the story. Analyze the dialogue—are the characters speaking in original voices? Does what they are saying make sense? Feel "true" to their character? Take a look at your descriptions—are they succinct? Do they include sensory details? Have you said enough about the setting so that it comes to life for the reader? Could you be more specific in the details?

How about your characters? Do they have a true "arc"—a place where they started, and then ended differently? Do they move the plot forward? Are they original and well-developed? (There's nothing worse than cardboard cut-outs!)

And how about that plot? Does it flow? Make sense? Drag? Are there any major gaps? How's the pacing? Does each sentence, every paragraph and page beg you to read more?

I know, it's a lot to consider. Don't worry if you're not quite there yet, or if you miss some things on your first revision pass. Some stories take many revisions. Dawn Ius, the author of the Superman Duffy series of graphic novels says her young adult book Anne & Henry went through five revisions...on the first chapter alone.

To be honest, I'm kind of excited to start revising my work in progress. Someone famous once said, "Manuscripts are written on the first draft—stories are written in revisions." Something to think about as I power through the first draft of this story.

Gotta jet! Happy Wednesday—and may the words be with you!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

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