Random Things to Know About Revision

Filed under: Touching the Surface

Just wanted to give you some quick pointers that I’ve picked up as I’ve been revising.  Here are some random things that have popped out at me while I’ve been working and learning.

*Although an author’s job is to be artistic and unique.  There are certain things that I say that make no sense…

ME:  “I could feel the ugly desire like a stench that hung in the room.”

ANICA: “But you can’t feel a stench.”

ME: “Damn.”

There were more, but I don’t love you that much.

*Everyone in my manuscript…

-rolls their eyes…a lot.
-grins, giggles, laughs, chuckles and smiles…a lot.
-has very expressive eyebrows.

*When I like a word, I really like it…

Look and it’s many deviations may be one of my favorite words in the english language.
-This would be closely followed by my affection for the word voice.
-On the other hand, I think you can’t use snarky too many times in one manuscript.  Seriously.  Anica is sooo wrong about this one!

*I have obviously not effectively mastered the use of…

– Commas.  I believe that a good reader should just “know” where I need to take a breather.
– Semi-colons and colons.  *shudders*  But I blame that on A DASH OF STYLE: THE ART AND MASTERY OF PUNCTUATION By Noah Lukeman.  (Which I was reading while revising for my agent Michelle Wolfson)

“Which brings us to the underuse (or absence) of the colon.  The colon is a mark that never truly needs to appear in a work, and thus it is hard to criticize a text bereft of them.  Nonetheless, there will inevitably be at least a few instances when a colon can be used to enhance, and thus its absence (when needed) might indicate a writer who, at the most basic level is less seasoned, unable or unwilling to experiment with nuances.  He is also less likely to use other sophisticated marks such as semicolons.”  Noah Lukeman

In retrospect, I suppose that this was not a punctuation dare.  In the future I shall keep my less seasoned, unable, and unwilling  experimental nuances under control.

*Odds are…

-If I wrote a very pithy phrase, I repeated it some place in the next three pages.  I’m not sure why I did that so much.  My best guess is that I was so mesmerized by my own writing technique I got distracted.
-I’ll use two or more words to describe something when one would be effective.
-I like retro references from the 70’s and 80’s that today’s teen might not even understand.  Wow, I should have had a V-8!

*I love…

-DASHES–I put them everywhere.  When I’m in the throes of writing–I kid you not–dashes are my favorite punctation–besides colons and semicolons–of course.

*I find it really annoying…  

-That when you make up an imaginary world, all the rules have to be consistent.  Someone is always pulling a fast one on me in my world!  Maybe a little inconstancy keeps everyone on their toes.  Roll with it folks.  No?  All right, I’ll work on that.  *head thunk*

*EVERYTHING about revision is better when…

-Your editor is a flagrant user of hearts and smiley faces.
-Your editor doesn’t pull out her hair and fire you because of all of the things mentioned above.
-Your editor admits that you made her cry, which makes you cry too.
-Your editor writes on the last page, next to the final word…beautiful.  And this gives you enough courage to keep believing in yourself.

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  1. LOL! Dashes are my favorite punctuation ever. I always have to do a "dash pass" when I'm editing, just to get rid of the excess. Oh, and ellipses. I adore the ellipsis! It's just so…so…well, you know. 😉

  2. Ahhhh I forgot the ellipsis–love that little guy. *grin*

  3. And yet (I know I'm not supposed to start a sentence with and), to have worried to excessively about making these mistakes would be to have not written at all. Then you'd be just like: all the rest of us– keep the chin up. You are inspiring so many to get started…

  4. Awwww that was like a cyber hug! Thank you. <3

  5. My characters like to grin a lot too. I have to agree; the smiley face notations are the best!

  6. So funny that you are figuring out what YOU do… I have the tendency to forget when doors are open and closed. I might open the same door three times in a scene.

    I also have ALWAYS mixed tenses up. Past… present… past… present. It's especially hard when I decide my revision is going to change the narration into present tense. I NEVER get all the verbs shifted over the first go-round. Always have to read it again, aloud, to catch everything.

  7. Ummmm…CRAP…I did that stuff too. *head thunk*

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