Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Exercises in Revision #3: How to Fix It

Here are #1 and #2.

In Exercises #1 and 2, you and your readers made some notes about what needed to be fixed in the story, and maybe even roughly how to fix it: e.g., cut down on the back story, do more showing and less telling. You did that with your editing brain. In this exercise, you'll ask your writing brain to apply itself to the problems.

One good way to do that, I've found, is to distract your conscious mind with something else, so it gets out of the way and lets your subconscious do what it wants.

First, sit down and review your notes so they're fresh in your memory.

Now click over here and get three random numbers from 1 to 50.

Now click over to this list and write down the words or phrases corresponding to your numbers.

The first word or phrase has to be included in the first sentence of your revision. The second can go anywhere in the middle. And the last has to be included in the last sentence. 

This is a version of an exercise I do in class. You may have seen it here. It's interesting to use it for revision because you have the added challenge of figuring out how you're going to get those phrases to work with the story you already have.

For the first few moments, it will seem impossible. But try it. See what happens. Keep your revision goals in the back of your mind as you go. That's where you'll have to keep them, because the front of your mind will be busy doing something else.

Good luck!

How do I make these things fit together?
Poster for For a Few Dollars More, United-Artists, 1967, via 50watts

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