During March I followed the daily revision course posted by Janice Hardy over at Fiction University. I can’t put my hand on my heart and say that I completed my revision, but I can say that it has helped me identify holes to be filled and areas to trim. It was quite a feat to commit to but a worthwhile one in terms of lessons learnt. Some of it wasn’t new stuff, but what the course did do was to provide a structure, a process which I will now follow for all my drafts. Having had a week of reflection on the 31 days of March Revision, these are the key learning points that stood out for me:
- I need to invest more time at the planning stage. Not that I shall never need to revise if I do so, but it will save time in terms of getting the structure in place first, rather than trying to fix after. For me being a panster is okay when you are developing ideas, but a structure is essential for longer pieces of work. I think most writers do work with a structure in some way or form.
- Having been sold the benefits of story structure I shan’t be a slave to it but it is more useful then beginning, middle and end. Initially I followed it to the tiniest degree but then I felt I was losing the essence of my story. As with many things, it’s about a balance, finding out what works best for you and creating a loose framework for which to hang your story on.
- The course started with the big picture, the macro level. Often it is easy for us to concentrate the nitty gritty, the typo’s, punctuation, word use and phrases. But if the story has big plot problems then none of the micro stuff matters if you don’t fix it.
So, I now have a system which I will put into practice with all my revisions. The advice is not only pertinent for novel length pieces of work, a lot of it can be applied to short story and flash fiction, particularly the micro level editing. So it’s a win win situation for me. Thanks, Janice!
Next Time: I shall be sharing how I use Scrivener as a tool for my writing and why it works for me