"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Up for the Weekend/Year

Revision, revisions, revisions. Actually, I have so much to revise, undoubtedly, I'll be revising for the next year. Not that I mind. Unlike some, I actually like doing revisions.
The best for me is doing a revision on something which I haven't looked at in a long time. The best was The Navel of the World, the second book in The Emerald Tablet trilogy. I picked it up after a year and pretty much changed the whole thing. It was like a light had come on, and I knew so many things which had to change. And cutting my darlings? Not a problem seeing as how after a year, there was nothing "darling" let to me but just a bunch of plot holes and weaknesses and such.
OK, there was some stuff salvageable, and the basic ending stayed the same. But still...

If you live in Austin, come out this Saturday to the Austin SCBWI meeting. Saturday. 11:00. Westlake B&N. Helen Hemphill will be talking about:
Five Things to Consider When Plotting a Novel
It’s thrilling to begin a new novel, but most writers know it’s the middle and the ending that can make or break a story. A great plot is both planned and discovered. This mini workshop will offer up practical strategies for plotting a middle grade or young adult novel and suggest five things you’ll want to consider as you plot your novel.

Can I use this? Darn right I can. Plus it's a chance to hang out with fab Austin writers, and who am I to turn that down? I just love the vibes they all give off.

And just when I was going to place my next Amazon order, my husband informed me he has an Amazon gift certificate. Um, yay! It's like free books.


beth said...

So true that leaving a story for awhile will really help you to edit. It is very important to get that distance in. If I leave a ms on the shelf for awhile, and the re-read it later, I've forgotten what was written. It actually comes as a bit of surprise to me what words/phrases are on the paper. It's how I can re-read books--I forget how they end. When I've got enough distance to my own book that I've sort of forgotten the end, then I can actually really edit.

Marcia said...

I have to respond to this post with one big Amen to cover it all, I guess! I totally agree about loving revision and that a long break works wonders. And a great plot is both planned and discovered. That workshop sounds fantastic. Will you be posting on the highlights?

Lapillus said...

When I've had a long break with my work I usually can't stomach it when I return, but maybe that's where I should be pulling my insight from and doing those complete rewrites. I'm definitely seeing it with a different set of eyes and you're right - no more darlings!

Have fun at the workshop. Wish I could go but I'm just a tad far away (Cali, heh) but feel free to share any gems you come away with!

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Beth! I love when I reread something I've written after a while and think, "hey this doesn't totally suck." It's a nice feeling. Or I find a joke hidden in it which makes me laugh. It's a good boost.

Great idea, Marcia! I will post details from Saturday's meeting. Helen is a fabulous author, and I can't wait to hear what she has to say. And to have it drilled into my head again everything I need to work on!

Thanks for visiting!

PJ Hoover said...

Too funny, Casey! Sometimes when I'm revising something and I can't stand to look at it anymore, I think I'll throw up if I read even the first line one more time. That's when I know I need a break. Or a change.
Maybe I should try some of those revising techniques like changing font or shrinking text or adding color or reading on printed page.


Angie Frazier said...

This post has given me hope! I am nearing the end of my current WIP and am looking forward to letting it sit for months and months before going back to revise. I hope a light turns on for me, like it did for you :-)

PJ Hoover said...

I hope your light is a glaring beacon like mine was, Angie! It was such a great, great feeling to be able to look at it so objectively!

Just_Me said...

You like revisions? I think there might be something fundamentally wrong with that....To each his own I suppose. :o)

Have fun at the workshop.If you can take some notes and post them up here at your lesiure I'll love you forever!

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Just Me, I love revisions when I'm fresh for them and have a good idea what needs to be done. When I'm on the fifth time through something during a single stretch, they do/can become tedious.
Thanks for visiting, and I'll definitely post notes! Plotting is key!

Vivian said...

See, I told you...you have all the cool events in your area.

Glad you've found revisions fun--hope we get to read it!

BTW, I'm reading The Emerald Tablet with my nine-year-old. She's loving it!

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Vivian! I'm so glad you and your 9-y-o are enjoying The Emerald Tablet! I'd love to hear her/your thoughts when your done!
And we do have cool events. Just a super great SCBWI!