Friday, November 26, 2010

Revision is Like Decorating

So it's time to start decorating the house. I've never actually decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving before, but this year I'm going to give it a try.

Revision is like Decorating | revising your manuscripts | writing and editing | revision tips

Last year, I bought a whole bunch of new decorations, and I'm excited to go through the boxes just to see what I have. It'll be like opening a present! And then Saturday I'm having a very small birthday party for my little girl who's turning four. Thanksgiving was nice and peaceful, as peaceful as a three-, almost four-, and six-year-old can make it. We ate good, but didn't go overboard. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

So how is revision like decorating? Aren't we all trained to think revision is like cutting back? I may be stretching a bit here, but we have to stretch our minds when we revise, too. Since I'm crazy, and I'm revising six mss right now, I like to think revising can be a bit like decorating. I mean we want to decorate our writing with the best language possible, and that means being sparse with adjectives and adverbs. I mean, like I'm not gonna put five wreaths on my front door, or anything. And then we have to clean up our sentences in other ways, too. I'll have to do a lot of dusting as I take down all my pictures and put up the new fancy Christmas decor. We can take each sentence, dust it off, and decide if that's really the best place for it. Think about if you want to keep it in the story, or try something new. Could it be moved closer to the beginning or the ending?

And lastly, there's attitude. Can you not tell I'm excited to get down to business and work hard to start decorating? I think we should be just as excited when it comes to revising our works of written art. I admit sometimes it's hard to always be excited about working on our mss, especially when the ending won't come to us; or we need to add, or get rid of, a character. But when all the rearranging is done, and everything is in its place, won't it be enchanting to stand back and look at the finished work? Perhaps I'll revise something else today besides my kitchen and living room...

So revising is like dusting, being selectively sparse, and getting fired up.

  • Do you guys even like to dust? 
  • What gets you fired up about revising? 
  • When will you decorate your lovely homes for the holidays?


  1. I hate dusting. :P

    I love the idea of making my writing better than it was--and it can be a nice break from pounding out the wordcount and looking everything over.

    We're already starting to decorate for Christmas! My mom's actually putting up stuff as I type. :D

  2. Yes, but remember Christmas is once a year and decorating once a year is very exciting. Revising an ms over and over can become very tedious. I am very excited about my editing right now because I am writing new stories, but give them a couple of months and I'm sure fatigue will kick in. Would you like to decorate for christmas every weekend. Hmm.. That's a tough one. No I don't like dusting. I get fired up when I think of how different i can make the story. For example this weekend I started out with a story about a boy in space with a wizard and some wombies. Then I turned it into an airy fairy poem, then I took out the Wizard, the wombies and the poetry and I have a (hopefully) funny story purely about space stuff. We are in the middle of decorating, but we've lost a box, so whether we climb into the depths of the spare room or get new stuff we'll see. Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving Christie. And hope you are inspired. Take care

  3. Having friends like you helps me get inspired, too!


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