1. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Good source of MS revision techniques

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jannert, Jun 29, 2015.

    I've been reading through the latest Writers' Digest (September 2015.) This particular issue focuses on revision and editing that pertains to several different kinds of writing, including novels (my primary interest), non-fiction and poetry.

    Some really helpful articles there.

    I especially liked the piece entitled "The Great Revision Pyramid" that deals with how to structure your revision, so you deal with only one or two writing problems at a time. The article suggests, in detail, how you start with the most basic issues, such as narration (choosing POV and voice) and character development. From there, you move on through revising the plot and then the scenes you've chosen to depict the plot. Then you move to the one aspect you should revise last ...which is ...wait for it ...line by line editing for the perfect word and sentence choices, spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes, etc. So many new writers—and critique givers—seem to think perfect word choice is the first thing you look at, when editing a story. Apparently it's not, and this article makes it clear why it's not.

    I also liked the piece entitled "The Reader is my Co-pilot." This teaches how to allow the reader the freedom to construct scenes in their heads, rather than info-dump what each scene looks like in detail. This feat is accomplished by paring down the details you give your readers, and choosing only the most pertinent ones that direct the reader's own imagination.

    The Writer's Workbook section of the September issue is especially useful. It lays out in great detail how to 'edit' a book. That is, get it formatted and correct for publication. This section has nothing to do with craft-of-writing issues as detailed in the articles above. Instead, it shows exactly the kind of attention that is required to produce an MS that is free of SPAG mistakes, and is consistently presented throughout. This is especially useful for people who are intending to self-publish, but any writer would do well to be aware of what is required.

    All in all, this is one of the most useful Writers' Digest issues I've read in a long while.
     
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  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Sounds very interesting. I especially like the point that's quoted. I think with a few careful words you can say a lot, allowing the reader to fill in the gaps with context and knowledge and not bogging them down with boring detail. Although some detail is good, painting a picture, but in that detail you can say so much more than simply direct description. Tricky though. I take my queues from films scripts. Only the most important details are given in scripts, like 'a smokey, rowdy bar filled with burly brutes'. That's all that's often needed to paint a particular picture.
     
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  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    No links? :-(
     
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  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    No, I'm afraid I can't link, because I receive my paid-for subscription online, as a downloadable issue. However, you should be able to pick up a paper copy this issue at the newsstand now. There won't be a free downloadable version. (You could subscribe online, though. Just google Writers' Digest. There are worse ways to spend money if you're learning the craft of writing, although the magazine does really push the idea of traditional publishing, and how to find agents, etc. However, I always find at least one or two articles in each issue that are worth the price of the magazine. And it's a great resource as well, with plenty of links to other writing-related things of interest.)
     
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  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ha ha! You sure you've not read the article? One of the examples she lists is how to get a reader to picture a 'seedy bar.'
     
  6. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Yeah I just checked it out and realised this was probably the case.

    I have been checking out that site for a while, keeping it in mind. I want my job to end so I can be a full-time writing bum.
     
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