I'm late posting today. Thursdays I volunteer at my son's school library, which is so great having access to all the kid lit. Still, the most popular I see are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Percy Jackson series, Lemony Snicket.
But that's not what I want to discuss today. I saw a cool quote the other day (wish I'd have written it down) about how an author's real writing is in the revision. It's so true. I've revised my story Float so many times now, and it gets better each time--which makes me wonder if you're ever really done. Sometimes, you just gotta step away and move on.
So the second round of revisions should provide you with a more seamless feel to the story--finally you're weaving it all together and tightening the loose threads.
This second time around is when we should be focusing more attention on individual scenes. We should have a story world so real that the page disappears. We can transform dull settings so that there's more mood and tension. Maybe there's a scene where not much happens but at the time you wrote it, it helped the story flow. Cut it. We have to learn to see which scenes can be cut because nothing's really happening. Another reason why beta readers/ CPs are so valuable.
Maybe your MC spends too much time alone, or you don't have enough cliffhangers at the end of your chapters.
Here's a good checklist for beta readers:
1. Does story move fast enough to hold readers' attention?
2. Are there any summaries that should be developed into scenes or vice versa?
3. Need to add any foreshadowing?
4. Actions of characters make sense?
5. Is time passing in a clear, understandable way?
6. Each scene have setting details?
7. Does each scene raise the stakes?
8. Are characters consistent?
9. Any long introspection in need of trimming?
10. Does dialogue match characters' vocabulary, intelligence, emotions?
I got these questions form one of my trusty writing manuals and I find them so helpful.
On a lighter note, there are a couple of contests for pre-published writers happening!
For YA writers:
And Miss Snark's Baker's Dozen for both YA and Adult:
How cool is that?? I participated in Miss Snark's Secret Agent contest this month and it was extremely helpful. I got some great feedback on my first 250 words, and while the secret agent didn't request any partials from me, she did remark that the writing was good and and the subject matter interesting.
What about you? Anything to add to second round revsions?