Friday, June 28, 2013

Coming Back to Old Work

I have a longer piece I want to lick into shape to submit for a competition. I have wondered if I should pay a professional editor to check it before I submit it to make it as best as it can be, but time might be an issue for this option.
I have had part of this work critiqued. This led to it languishing in a folder on my computer ignored out of embarrassment. Many of the flaws were as clear and sharp as a frosty afternoon once they had been pointed out in slashes of someone else's pen. 
The flaws flamed my cheeks with embarrassment because they were flaws I never let happen in my professional work. 
The experience was tough enough to completely shift my thinking back to where it should have been - what I already knew in my other professional written work also applied to my own personal work. I was very relieved recently to hear a writer, who was placed in a writing competition, say her feedback was usually pointing out things she realised she already knew - phew I wasn't alone!
I find working on longer pieces, I can get lost in so many words and details. I am going to try Sol Stein's triage method for revision. It is chapter thirty-two of my all time favourite book on writing - Sol Stein on Writing.
His triage approach is to take the main character first and think about how well you understand them, if they are distinct from you and if you would want them on holiday with you.
The next step is to revise the villain/antagonist.
Then to revise the conflict and check if it is credible.
After that take the scenes and work out if they are memorable by seeing which ones you can remember and then find the least memorable one, (probably from browsing the manuscript, since it has been forgotten). Rewrite it better by looking at the most memorable scenes and seeing what is great about them. If it can't be rewritten - dump it. Then work through the next least memorable scene. He has many more excellent suggestions to follow on from this, which is why I find his book so helpful. Time for me to get revising - Triage Stat!
But first there is a rant I need to get out of my head.

No comments:

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.