Newbie Writer: Revision

It’s a series on Advice to Newbie Writers. This will last a while. Enjoy.

Advice to Newbies ~ Revision

Herewith, the continuation of my response to a Newbie Writer’s concerns. (See the 9/1 post to read her email. Names are changed to protect the innocent.) On 9/5 and 9/15 are my FIRST & SECOND and then THIRD responses. I divided my responses because they cover so much information.

My RESPONSE, based on the 1st paragraph, section D


Here I go quoting DWSmith again. (Really, you need to follow this guy. Take his courses on Teachable. )

He writes one clean draft, gets it proofed, then launches the story into the world. What he means by “clean” is that he doesn’t write gobbledygook like “put something romantic here” or “another red herring here”. He works through the problems as they occur. I am not certain if he starts at the beginning and works to the end.

I think his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in the bits and pieces, more like a puzzler than a plotter or a pantster, then puts the scenes together. BUT I DO NOT KNOW THIS, so please do not quote me.

Anyone who writes with the puzzler method must have an excellent understanding of the story before starting. A puzzler will write all the interesting scenes first then the next most interesting things and then finally the joining scenes, the ones that aren’t so interesting.

I cannot do the puzzler method, not now.

I have described in my previous response (this will be the 7/30 post at this link) how I struggled with a couple of previous manuscripts. They were the puzzler method.

I never understood how I would get bogged down and never pick something up for weeks and months. Looking back now, I think it was because I had the interesting scenes written and needed to write the less interesting ones. I apparently need the “carrot on the stick” of interesting scenes ahead to get the lesser interesting ones out of the way.

I say all of this for a reason. In my earlier manuscripts, I wrote a little then headed off to a different story and wrote a while and never finished or never finished with a well-written manuscript.

I tried a lot of different methods.

NOW I follow DWSmith—I write one clean draft. I may have to go back and fix things or add scenes as I continue through the story, but I don’t have major revision at the end.

For my first novels, I did have major revisions. The story would change on me.

Revisions now are no longer so drastic. I have my story elements (tagline, character development, and basic story arc [of where I want to take the characters and how I want them to end up]) planned, but I am not chained to the plan. I am much happier now.

In looking at your question #2 (see the 9/1 post … it’s her original email), when you mention that you have 200,000 words—you may have one novel or two novels or three or even four or five. This is a good thing. And it is a decision that you will need to make. Few books in romantic suspense and romantic mysteries run at 200,000 words.

** The beauty of having 200,000 words that you will break into smaller increments is that you have a single character that you are plunging into a series.

** The ugly is that you may have more writing to do.

Having three or more books to launch, one week after the other, is an excellent marketing plan. This means you can have cliff-hangers, and the readers will not become angry at having to wait for the next book.

The more writing that may be necessary will be creating plot threads for each individual book. The series can have an overall story arc—the arc that you have already created. The individual books will need to have their own conflict and culminating climax while also leading to the next book. The finishing climax should be the climax that you have already written.

This may be the reason that your 200,000 words don’t fit other story structures. You may have multiple structures in the one manuscript. Those structures may be lacking their climax and resolution before launching into the next conflict difficulties.

So, look at your 200,000 words.

  • Look at the one giant whole then look at breaking it into three (or four or five).
  • If you break into three, you are breaking at about 60,000 words.
  • You may need to write 10,000 words to create the missing sub-plot structures.
  • Then I would see if the three sections “work” with the coherent individual plot, each with its own climax, and the third with the climax that you have written.

WOW. This is a lot to take in. I’m going to stop here and send this email so I can handle a few things. I will get back to your email, I promise, but these four points will definitely give you a starting point.

PROMO {BTW, I didn’t promo her. Just you all. 😉 }

Discovering Your Plot for plotting

And Think/Pro for the writing stages.

Next Up

We hit October and move past the first paragraph of her email. Whoopie!