Posted in Revision

Jobe Reflects on Novel Revision

Well I turned in a major novel revision yesterday, folks, and MAN OH MAN was it some hard work. This draft crossed the finish line with only 46k words, 186 pgs, seven chapters of about 25-30pgs ea. I cut roughly 9k words of scenes that didn’t work–and that was just the balance after adding in new material, too. Is it ready to be published? No. Is it a heck of a lot better than it was before this revision? You betcha.

For grins I decided to plug my novel in to the hemingway editor app. It tells me that my readability is at a 4th grade level. That means it’s easy to read, which is fine by me since I intended it for YA readers. It says the read time is 3 hours (I wonder how they calculate something like that?) and that I used too many adverbs for their taste, but I was way under their max for passive voice.

What else can I say? Novel revision is really hard work that is really worth it. Here’s some advice from the world wide web:

Solicit feedback. This initial step isn’t really part of the revision process itself, but you need to do it before you’re ready to revise…seek feedback from others…Let the book rest before you try to revise it, so that you can come to it with fresh eyes.” — Anne Lyle

Read. (Try Darcy Pattison’s method of shrinking your manuscript!)

“Analyze. After the first read-through, begin to make notes. Answer the following questions. Does my story make sense? Is the plot compelling? Does the story flow or does it seem choppy? Do my lead characters “jump off the page”? Are the stakes high enough?” — James Scott Bell

Focus on big-picture items, such as plot structure, point of view, and pacing, first.” — Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas, The Book Designer

Outline the book you wrote. The goal is to see what’s there in terms of story beats, character arcs, plot moments. Outline the book you’re gonna rewrite. Have a plan. — Chuck Wendig

REVISE! RESTRUCTURE! REORGANIZE! BEAT THAT MANUSCRIPT INTO SUBMISSION!

Set a completion date for the revision. You need to keep yourself going with deadlines.” — Holly Lisle

When You’re Done, You’re Not Done. Once you have finished your revision, go back and re-read the opening paragraphs (or the whole first chapter) to be extra sure that the feeling and atmosphere you wanted to produce in the opening is still on target…Open strong, end strong.” — James Duncan, Writer’s Digest

Now? REST.

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Posted in Query and Submit, Revision

Submission Process with Jobe

I’ve been asked to take a look at the submission process, so here’s a handy list:

1. Finish writing your piece. Revise it a lot. Decide that it’s ready.

2. Pick 10 lit mags. You can find lists of accepting mags online or in print. Writer’s Market is a favorite, as well as Poetry Market. Buy at the beginning of each year or check out from your local library.

3. The best way to know if your story is going to be a fit is to read the guidelines and read an issue. If you never put any time, money, or effort into being a literary citizen, you can’t expect publications to fall over themselves for you. Also, don’t send your vampire erotica to a religious mag, or your religious piece to a vampire erotica mag. Et cetera.

4. Write a cover letter! Make it look good, even if it’s “just” online.

5. Write a bio! On the off chance that they want to publish you, they’ll often want a short bio.

6. Mail or email your piece out to these 10. Make a record of who you sent it to and when. Most places will say whether or not they accept simultaneous submissions, and it usually only matters if you are accepted, which should not be mathematically expected. Some places you may never hear back from. Some places you may not hear back from soon. Just keep writing, and just keep sending (new pieces to new places).

7. Collect your rejection letters. Print them out, pin them to the wall. These are proof that you are a “real” writer! Celebrate! Treat yourself! Post about it on Facebook! You’ve taken steps that most people don’t have the guts to take. You are the real deal. Hats off to you.

8. REPEAT!

When in short story mode, Murakami Haruki takes a week to write a short story, a week to revise it, then sends it out. What if you dedicated your entire summer to this process? Imagine how much better your writing would get! Imagine how much experience and confidence you’d acquire!

 

Jobe

Posted in Interviews, Revision

Jobe asks for Revision Advice from GCP

I asked for revision advice from Garry Craig Powell. Here’s what he had to say:

I go back and re-read for sense, to see if I have written parts that are superfluous (often the case, sadly) or if I have not written parts that need to be there (also a fairly frequent occurrence).

I look at other macro issues too, such as: is there too much exposition? Is there enough conflict? Are these characters believable? Is there enough sensory detail? Is there any suspense? In other words, all the time I am asking myself why anyone would want to read this.

I look for repetitions too, factual inaccuracies and other kinds of mistakes.

The other thing I do, which I know Martin Amis does too, is re-read each sentence for sound. Every sentence has to sound good. Every sentence. If it doesn’t, it either has to be rewritten or thrown out. This is partly a question of rhythm, but also a question of the sounds of words, the originality of the words, the syntax.

I don’t want to write any boring sentences. I think that’s basically it. It’s somewhat haphazard, and I don’t necessarily do one step before the other in any regular order. A lot of it is pure feel and instinct.

http://garrycraigpowell.com

 

Thanks for tuning in!

Jobe

Posted in Interviews, Revision

Jobe does a Revision Interview with Nelson Terry

Happy Fourth to everybody. Today I’m going to share a mini-interview I did with my friend, writer Nelson Terry. Of course the topic is: Novel Revision!

Q: What’s your plan of attack?

A: Does the dialogue make sense? Does it sound like something actual people would say in real life? Don’t be afraid to cut something out, even if you spent a lot of time on it. Pay attention to plot/logic holes. If YOU can see them, then so will readers.

Q: What’s your best advice?

A: Set deadlines to keep you focused, but be willing to push those deadlines ahead when needed. My current deadline is to have my fourth draft done by my birthday, which was the same deadline I set for the first draft last year.

Q: Is there a craft book or stellar novel you swear by?

A: Stephen King’s “On Writing” as far as the how-to is concerned, and for me personally, “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were great examples of great writing. Also, “Fahrenheit 451.” It’s one of the greatest novels ever written, and it’s also notable for being less than 200 pages.

Thanks for checking out our mini-interview and expect more to come! Meanwhile surf Nelson’s blog http://www.nelsonpants.com/blog/.

Cheers!

Jobe

 

Posted in Jobe Workshop Review, Revision

Jobe on Revising A Novel

One of my big summer projects is to work one-on-one with my professor John Vanderslice and revise the novel manuscript I wrote in his Novel Writing class. While we agreed that a summer is not really enough time, I thought tough goals would be a good way to keep myself in check.

Advice that I’ve received so far includes:

  • Dive into the big structural issues, because you may be line editing passages that end up getting cut.
  • Keep 3 how-to books and 3 novels like yours close at hand (Heather Sellers).

The first of my 3 how-to guides is a fantastic book by literary agent Regina Brooks.

reginabrooks
This book has been chock-a-block full of fantastic great advise which is just as easily applied to a second draft as to a first draft.

These web posts also seem pretty solid:

http://hollylisle.com/how-to-revise-a-novel/
http://www.annelyle.com/blog/writing/revising-your-novel-in-10-easy-steps/

And I’m browsing amazon to see which book should be my next pick:

90  rockit uncommonredpen

 

 

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Went to the bookstore last night. I picked this one:
a