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

Monday, December 06, 2010

Writing from the Place: TEN POST-NANO REVISION TIPS

So you did it.
You wrote 50K words in the month of November. Or maybe you only got to 25K. Whatever it is, congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment! Now comes the fun part, because, yes, you need to revise...

Well, we here at the place (being K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson , E. Kristin Anderson, Madeline Smoot, and sometimes members Mari Mancusi and Jenny Ziegler) have the answers you need.

We give you out Top Ten Post NaNo revision tips:

1) Throw out the whole draft and start again.
It may sound daunting, but at the end of revisions, this very well could be exactly what has happened.

2) Eat cake. Lots of cake. You deserve it, no matter what your mother says.
If you're a perfectionist, you might consider imbibing wine in addition to cake.

Making it a fun cake will make it all that much better.

3) Do not read about anyone else's novel idea.
If it's similar at all to your NaNo project, it'll make discouragement settle in.
Anyway, your story is different. And unique. And totally has a place in the market, even if it is chock-full of faeries and vampires and mean cheerleaders who stole your main character's boyfriend.

4) Cut those cliches that crept their way into your manuscript.
Okay, they didn't creep. You put them there, and sure, you said to yourself, "I'll remove this cliche when I revise."
Guess what? It's time to revise.
Here's a handy list in case you're interested.

5) Sit on it. Put it in a drawer. Hide it under your cat.
Seriously. Best tip ever. Take as much time away from that thing as you can stand. It will love you so much more when you return.

Wait until Daylight Savings Time ends and you have to change your clock.

6) Ask your favorite Barista at THE PLACE for tips.
Like, advice, not the stuff in his jar by the register.

7) Read the author who most inspires you and ask yourself:
"What would
Francesca Lia Block do with this scene?"
Feel free to substitute the author of your choice here.

8) Don't be afraid to slice & dice Ginsu style.
Come on. You know you added some of that crap just to up the word count.
Epilogue? Yeah, I can smell that.

Thanks, Gary, for the image!

9) Go back to whatever you were revising before that NaNoWriMo nonsense interrupted.
And the extra benefit of this one, it won't look nearly as bad as you thought. (See number (5).)

10) Just edit out every other word. It'll make sense. Probably.


E. Kristin Anderson said...

LOVE! <3

And I love that Star Trek images work their way into every list. You are OSUM.

PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Emily! I am going to strive for the Star Trek image each time. There is always a way...

Thank you!

Vicky said...

Thanks for the tips! I won Nano and actually started rewriting my story, but I read somewhere that before that you should read some book about writing so I read Stephen King's On writing and it was really helpful! Also the not to read anything close to my story I thought about before, but what I did not thought was the eat all the cake I want! That's great advice. I shall now go and get some.

Janet Johnson said...

Love #10! I could totally see that working. :)

Kelly Polark said...

Ha! Great tips! And love the Rubik's cake (that you could probably solve in two minutes!)!

PJ Hoover said...

Congrats, Celeste! And what kind of cake shall you have?
I loved Stephen King's On Writing!

(10) cracked me up, Janet! I loved it, too!

LOL, Kelly! I'm trying to get my time down, but it's going to take a commitment :)

Anonymous said...

Too funny! True...but funny!

Su said...

Hmmm. Where does one get a Rubik's Cube cake?

PJ Hoover said...

So true, Natalie. And so hard to wait to revise sometimes.

Su, it seems lots of people have tried. And now I feel I must at some point :)

Jodi Henry said...

These are hilarious. I will eat cake while asking advice from my barista and sitting on my novel. Don't know if I can hang until I have to change the time, but hey, I can try. LOL

3 out of 10 isn't bad.


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What would Francesca Lia Block do? Oh, that would shake a scene up for sure. What a fun post!

Miriam Forster said...

Number 5 is my go-to tactic, but I have to say, number 2 is my favorite!

MMmmm... cake.

PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Jodi! If your novel is thick enough, it will make a nice cushion.

Thanks, Tricia! It definitely is making me think :)

Cake is made of delicious, isn't it, Miriam?

Ronald L. Smith said...

I'll have to keep this list handy if I ever tackle Nano-Wri-Mo.

To date, I have yet to do it!

It's okay, though. I was plugging away working on my latest WIP, so I was working hard, none the less!

PJ Hoover said...

It was my first time, Ron, but it looks like you have the important part down which is plugging away at the WIP. Thanks!