Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thoughts on Revisions

I finished a round of revisions today.

Unfortunately that doesn't mean the novel is all polished up and ready to go out. There were some major changes I made based on feedback from early readers - and my own instincts. This round of revisions was to make sure that the changes all integrated properly and that the story made sense.

Now I get to go through (the last few chapters) and add some detail to them. They are bare bones now. They need to be dressed up.

Maybe this is an odd way of doing the revisions, I don't know. It seems to work for me.

So, when you revise is it a thorough all or nothing kind of process, or does it require more than one going over - kind of like painting a room with several coats of paint?

Okay - back to work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Interview

Eleni, over at La Femme Readers, has an interview with me up today. Go and read find out all kind of obscure facts about me, like why I don't go to horror movies.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pesky Descriptions

Describing characters. How do you do it? Do you give the full height, weight, hair color, eye color, and distinguishing marks right off the bat. Or do you let things be a little more fluid with only an occasional descriptor thrown in to ground the reader?

I used to know the hair color and eye color of all my major characters - minor ones too - I may have had a chart. But then I found that all my characters were distinguished by their hair color and hair style.

Barb, with the long blonde hair, spoke to Joan, whose dark hair was in a braid down her back.

Yeah. After awhile that didn't really work for me (though I still have to guard against it.)

Now I find that sometimes I go in the opposite direction - and have no descriptions of my characters. Often I can remedy that with a quick word or phrase (I just try to not let them all be about hair.)

As I was revising today I saw a note one of my critique partners left that a relatively minor character needed some description. And she's right. I have nothing. Just a name and her job. I have two problems (well three - but that one is motivation and stems from it being late). 1) I don't actually know what she looks like and 2) I'm not sure how to integrate a description into the introduction of her. I don't want to say "Jamie, the nurse my mother had hired came into the room. She was a tall woman with buck teeth and sensible shoes".... It seems too forced. I need to make it natural somehow.

I'm guessing that once I take a break from it, I'll come up with a solution - but in the meantime, here's my question: How do you make sure your characters are adequately described - without sounding like a police report?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

In Oliver when our hero asked for more porridge he got chased and sold by Mr. Bumble. I can sympathize with Mr. Bumble. Sometimes being asked to provide more is just enough to send a person over the edge.

In my AP English class, many moons ago, our teacher, Mr. Smith, had the tendency to stroke his beard, look at us closely and say "Can you give me more?"

He wanted more in depth discussion of the book. He wanted more details in the essays. He wanted us to dig deeper. To really get to the heart of the matter.

We'd look at him and think "No, this is as much as I've got. I can't give you anymore." And when he kept insisting, we sometimes felt like chasing him away too.

But, of course, he was right. We could dig deeper. And we did.

And now, today, I'm working on revisions and reading through comments from my awesome critique buddies. And what am I seeing on one particular scene?

You guessed it. They want more.

More emotion, more of being in the moment, more of just about darn near everything.

And my first reaction is like that of Mr. Bumble - to give chase - or like our reaction to Mr. Smith - 'there isn't anymore'.

But yet, they're right. I can dig deeper. I can give more. I can make the scene better.

So, another cup of tea. And I'll start that digging.

Happy revisions everyone - and a belated Happy New Year. (It's time to get back in the habit of blogging again.)