Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday

It's a little late in the day for WIP in progress Wednesday (my clock currently reads quarter to 9), but it is still Wednesday, so I'm squeezing this blog post in anyway.

Last week I wrote about how during my various rounds of rewrites and revisions I never differentiated between the two words, until finally during this current round, I came to see a very drastic difference between the two.

I had some really excellent comments regarding how other people defined their own rewrites/revisions/edits and wanted to share a few of them here.

K.M. Weiland: I definitely differentiate between revising and rewriting. Revising is routine; rewriting is radical!

Jennifer Shirk: It's like taking a chunk out of a cake that tastes funny and putting in a different layer. They you do the REVISIONS which is the frosting that keeps it all together so you never see the rewrites and it looks all pretty.

Lady Glamis: A rewrite to me means opening up a blank document and starting over. That's what I've done with my novel Monarch. I've been rewriting it for months now, and I'm almost done.

Elana Johnson: There is such a HUGE difference between revisions and rewriting. I call revisions edits and rewrites revisions, though. Because when I revise, I'm doing all that chopping, moving and rebuilding you talk about. Just different words. :)

What I think these comments highlight is not only how differently we all approach the writing process, but the many different ways that we can define it as well. I also have to mention that while I was writing last week's post I knew there was another word for rewrites/revisions that I couldn't think of, and it wasn't until I was reading my comments that I realized that word was "edits". It was definitely a hand-meets-forehead moment.

So, onto this week. I've actually made a lot of progress with what I've defined as my reWRITES. I even had one of those moments when the writing was just flowing and everything inside of me was like, "Yes, this is what I'm meant to be doing." Of course, that was Friday night and everything I've written since then has been like pulling teeth, but still that one moment almost makes the rest of it worthwhile.

Another thing that I've tried to keep in mind while doing my reWRITES are some general guiding principles or ideas that I want to use a criteria to judge what needs to go out and what needs to be put in instead. I boiled this down to three basic ideas that I wrote down and have been referring back to, constantly asking myself if I am sticking to them.

1. Simplify.

This one mostly refers to my overly convoluted plot, which towards the end grew so complicated that I could barely understand everything that was happening and how it all tied together.

2. Lighten and Go with the Quirk

This is more of a note on tone. Overall, my MS uses a lot of humor, but there were some very dark and weighty moments. While some of those moments are staying, others are being stripped away - especially where things got a little too dark and depressing.

3. It's the Character's, Stupid!

This kind of ties back into number one, when I became so wrapped up in the plot, I ended up losing some of my most important characters - so while I am at work unraveling bits of plot, I am also gently reminding myself where to keep the focus instead.

Anyway, those are three pretty broad statements, but so far they are helping to keep me on track. Has anyone else tried to use something like this to keep yourself focused on what your want your story to be - whether it be with a first draft or the (as I am calling my current draft) 500th one?

If you want to participate in WIP Wednesday, simply post your own WIP Wednesday entry on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments below. Or if you don't have a blog, feel free to report your progress directly into the comments box.

For more detailed information concerning what all this nonsense is about please consult the original Work in Progress Wednesday posting.

Feel free to also make use of the lovely little WIP Wednesday logo as well!


  1. I liked your three guidelines. The simplifying one is probably the one my YA needs the most.

  2. Wow, good for you! I don't think I've been so clearcut in my thinking but I wish I was. It would probably make my manuscripts a lot better. LOL

  3. Excellent post. I struggle to keep my edits at 'revision status'. When I go to edit I rewrite everything around it.

    I'm getting better though. My current WIP I'm only going to change what needs changing. I'm not even touching crits, aside from glancing through them for proper 'thank-yous', until I'm finished. I'll compare, revise with edits then ask for a BETA. Yep, that's the plan. :)

  4. I have those hand to the forehead moments all the time...

    I love your three basic ideas. What a great way to keep on track! Your blog is always so informative and though it always seems to be written for you, I always walk away learning something new. Thank you!

  5. I know those, technially, and remind myself of them as I'm writing ... but it is still easy to get sidetracked. I have a tendency to do the opposite of what you have said here, I focus so much on the characters that I lose the plot. That's no good, either.

    But, as we remind ourselves of these things and do our revisions or rewrites (depending on what level is needed), we learn. Or at least I do. Or at least I hope I do.

  6. Wow, I'm impressed with your organization and progress. Also, that's wonderful you had one of those moments where the writing was flowing. Those times are rare for me.

    I don't have a list of guidelines, but I try to keep a line or image in mind constantly and refer back to it when I get lost.

  7. My stories aren't filled with as many subplots, so I can keep it fairly simple.
    But I still have to keep my G-M-C chart out for each of my characters so I can glance at it and remember what my story is about. LOL!

  8. So glad you're still making progress! I just finished my rewrite Monarch tonight, and now I have a few revisions to do over the next couple weeks. Time to add icing!

  9. Your guidelines sound great and what I need to keep in mind while rewriting.

  10. Yeah, I tend to focus too much on the characters, too, and forget about plot. I don't need no stinkin' plot, right? Well, maybe a little. :D Great post.

  11. It would probably make my manuscripts a lot better

    Work from home India