Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3 Tips On Revising Your Work Before Unleashing It To The World!

NOTE: This is a reprint from The MANA Sunset Newsletter of October 2015. The article is helpful for all writers, but especially those participating in National Novel Writer's Month

by Holly Taylor
The MANA Sunset Newsletter

Dear Readers, 

This month I offer you practical wisdom for revising. I remain fixated with this topic because it’s my biggest struggle as a writer. The other day I had a friend read through a story I’d just written. I was shocked with myself for how defensive I became as the friend offered me his insights into making the story better. We share common interests in literature and writing style--needless to say, I was astonished at my own deference. 

Don’t guard your words like a protective mother. Heed the advice of what others tell you and take your writing to the next level. Don’t be blinded by illusions of grandeur. Remain humble abour your writing. Keep yourself open and your mind willing to bend. However, keep your readership in mind. 

If you don’t enjoy or find merit in the writing of the person giving you criticism, stay polite, but don’t plan to implement their suggestions. Part of writing and life in general is knowing whom to listen to and whom to ignore. Not everyone is out to build you up and make you the best writer you can be.

I offer three points of revision to ask yourself before you consider unleashing your work into the world:

1. Are there parts of the text that you aren’t confident about, but haven’t removed? If yes, focus on rewriting those. If it seems unclear to you, it certainly will be to a reader.

2. Are there words/sentences/paragraphs that don’t contribute to the story? If so, get rid of them. Edit at the level of the sentence. Don’t jumble the text with unnecessary embellishments. Think of writing as a stand-up comedy: You only have the audience’s attention for so long, so don’t do anything to distract or lose the audience’s steady focus.

3. Do you rely too heavily on adjectives and adverbs for description? If the prose can’t stand on its own without dozens and dozens of modifiers, you need to work harder to describe scenes, characters, and actions. 

Happy Writing!

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