Writers Digest September 2015 2017-09-13

The smart writers guide to revision

  1. jannert
    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.

    (addition by big soft moose - as well s downloading the whole thing, there is a link the great revision pyramid article as a pdf here http://www.gianniaero.com/the_great_revision_pyramid.pdf )