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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Revision Lecture by Ann Hood

Sorry for my absence readers, I've been working on revising. I learned so much at this years retreat that I've been slaving away at the computer ever since. But I'm loving every second of it because it's making my work that much better!

While most of my revision is based on things I learned in William Bernhardt's class, I must attribute some of it to Ann Hood's lecture on Revision. For your benefit, here is what I garnished from her lecture:

Ann said, 'don't confuse wanting it, with earning it.' There's a huge difference between the two and if you really want something, you will dedicate yourself to it and earn it. She gave us ten points to cover during our revision process. The first thing you need to remember is, once you've finished your book, that's when the real work begins. Revision is not an option.

1. 'Put away the time clock.' This is not to mean you shouldn't have goals, this just means you
should revise until it is perfect. Don't stop and think it's good enough as is because you hit a
deadline.
2. 'Put away your manuscript before you revise it.' How long depends on how long it takes you
to stop thinking about it. When it's time to go back to it, read it in hard copy form and be
brutal.
3. 'Cut, add, fix.' She suggests writing these three words next to the areas that need either
cutting, fixing, or something added. She also says to check your facts at this stage, cross
check names and descriptions. Cut what the reader already knows, cut adjectives, adverbs
and extra unnecessary words. Add for clarity and depth only where needed.
4. 'The big stuff. Beginnings, endings, settings, character arcs.' Look at your opening and closing,
make sure they're related. Make a list of your settings, make sure there aren't too many that
are related or the same. Make a list of your main characters and their emotional timeline.
5. 'Grammar.' Use spellcheck but don't rely on it. It's, its confusion will throw off and tick off
some agents. Highlight then delete (where you can) the seven deadly words: very, suddenly,
so, look, turn, smile, and nod. Replace them with action words where appropriate. Make sure
you're not always starting a sentence with a noun and following with a verb, or vica versa.
You should do both.
6. 'Enter the changes into your computer. Then print it out again.'
7. 'Pluses and minuses: If it starts on one, it should end on the other.' This doesn't always work
but it's a good reminder to keep the pace of our work changing.
8. 'Read through it again, fix it and repeat until it's perfect.' Meaning until you can't find
anything else to fix.
9. 'Use your friends. Three preferably.' Have them read it, then listen to their comments and
adjust your work accordingly where needed. However, I have to add that you must choose
these friends carefully. Someone who just says it's great, I love it, will not help you.
10. 'Prepare your manuscript for submission.' The standard is: double spaced, 12 font, Times
New Roman, number the pages. Add a title page with the title in 14 font centered, then
below it 'a novel by. . . ' and send it off!
Check Ann out at: http://www.annhood.us/

2 comments:

  1. Your welcome! I wish all my readers could have been there too. You guys would have loved it!

    ReplyDelete

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