Monday, March 21, 2011

The Hell I'd Like to Call Revision

I'm embarrassed to admit this: I don't know how to revise. I'm an English teacher. I encourage my students to revise all the time. So what's wrong with ME? Why am I struggling so hard to revise my novel and get it ready for submission this summer?

I don't think this makes me a terrible English teacher. I can help my students revise essays, especially the persuasive ones that the state and district seem so fond of using in writing assessments. But my novel? My baby? It's so hard! (And yes, I know I'm on the verge of whining. I can't help it!)

After spending an entire week feeling overwhelmed, I received an email that helped me see the light at the end of my revision tunnel. A couple of months ago I signed up for the Writer's Boot Camp at WIFYR (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers). The class will be taught by Ann Cannon, author of several books including The Loser's Guide to Life and Love. She sent a welcome letter yesterday that gave me nearly three pages worth of questions to think about during the revision process. Thank you, Ann! This was exactly what I needed. I have about three months to whip my baby into shape because 55 pages will be read by Ann and nine other strangers (I cringe just thinking about it!). 

But now I have direction, and I intend to approach each question one step at a time. I'd love to hear any suggestions about how you tackle revision.

Does anyone have any sage advice about revision? Tricks that have worked well for you? Website links of golden information? 


Andria said...

So, am I a stranger now? Or am I not counted in that 9?

Since I don't have any tricks up my sleeve that you don't have, I can't really help. But I'll take any advice you can gather from others. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to have someone else look at my work. I always know where it's weak, but murdering the darlings is so hard. I need an accomplice! There are so many passages that I've known I should get rid of, but it took someone else saying, "that has to go," for me to be able to actually hit the delete key.

BTW, can I have a copy of that list of questions? I'm in revising/editing mode now too!

Kari Marie said...

I wish I had tips for you. I've read a couple of books and I'm taking a class too (haven't started yet). So far the best tool I've used is reading aloud. I can always find what doesn't work and then I start removing the adverbs and making sure the voice is active. It takes me about 5 hours to review one page (and that's over several days). I read aloud, tweak, put it away. Repeat the next day.

Renae said...

I'm sad that I didn't get word of the Bootcamp until it was filled up. Should be one GREAT time with the Fascinating Ms. Cannon!

Joe Average Writer said...

Do you need a phone?