Curation Corner: And then there’s this on revising…

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

The ordinary writer is bound to be assailed by insecurities as he writes. Is the sentence he has just created a sensible one? Is it expressed as well as it might be? Would it sound better if it were written differently? The ordinary writer is therefore always revising, always chopping and changing, always trying on different ways of expressing himself, and, for all I know, never being entirely satisfied.

from Jon Winokur’s Advice to Writers

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The 90-Day Rewrite–My Takeaways

My takeaways from The 90-Day Rewrite by Alan Watt, also author of The 90-Day Novel

  1. The instructional heart of the book consists of his 90 ‘letters’ to the reader/rewriter. This approach evoked a more conversational tone to each ‘day’.
  2. Watt gives ‘rewriters’ a short ruminating or writing assignment that reinforces that day’s letter.

Some examples:

Day 46: Today–Write for five minutes beginning with ‘My story is about…’. Surprise yourself and be willing to write the forbidden.

Day 57: Today–Where you choose to reveal information can alter the pace and meaning of your story. Are your story’s revelations placed as effectively as possible?

  1. I like Watt’s Week 1 prescription of creating a new outline.

“If it seems strange to simply be re-outlining something that we have already written, that is not what we are doing. Rather, we are allowing ourselves to imagine the most compelling version of our story, which may contain large swaths of existing material, but also material yet to be written.”

  1. Quote from Day 69 letter: “Ultimately, the decision [on how to divide the novel–chapters, sections, etc.] is an intuitive one. Each story has its own unique way of being read.”

Whoa, was I off base…

So, cut to: Guide to Literary Agents blog.

I’m entering the 30th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest [URL is also below].

Requirements: A first page of an unpublished middle grade fiction manuscript.

I pulled up a favorite piece and fully expected the first 300 words to need a mere light polishing.

Uhhhh, no. Major delusion.

Pen in hand, I started reading and winced at bloated phrasing, forced metaphors, and unnecessary details. Ugly, very ugly.

Luckily, I tightened things up and let it rest for a day.

Good thing.

Once again, the piece needed more clarification and a shifting of the sequence.

My conclusion: I’ve either improved the piece or I’ve locked into version two of my delusion.

Either way, I’m submitting it today.

Will it win? Shrug.

But did I win?

Absolutely. I picked up a heartless reminder to revise and revise some more. And, by putting my work in the hands of those who judge for a living, I’ve–at least for today–thumbed my nose at resistance.

Here’s the contest URL: Come join me.