Thursday, June 3, 2010


I'm in the process of making some major changes to my plot, thanks to some input from my crit partners. It's not anything HUGE, like so big that I have to rewrite the whole thing, but it is big enough that every single sentence needs to be reevaluated under the new terms. Which is a major task, of course.

Before I started, I was freaking out a little. How do you even start something like this? My last round of revisions was much less intensive - trim the fat, add in some new scenes, and make sure everything was consistent. But that was before anyone else had seen it, so naturally my WIP was still a mess.

I decided the very first thing I needed to do was make a list. I thought this would be the best course of action for several reasons:
  1. I love lists.
  2. A list would help me organize my thoughts, and get down all the major revisions I wanted to do in one quick cheat-sheet. That way I could easily reference it as I went to make sure that it all matched up. 
  3. But mostly I just love lists - especially the part where I get to cross things off. (I even sometimes put things on lists that I already have or that I've already done just so that I can cross them off.)
So I headed into my office for an assortment of colorful Sharpies and index cards. We didn't have index cards, but we did have bright pink shimmery envelopes left over from my wedding, which already have our wedding monogram on them (complete with date) and therefore can never be used again, but like a hoarder I refuse to throw them away (even though they were hella cheap) because I am convinced they will come in handy some day - and today they did.

I used one envelope for plot changes, and one for character changes. I'm going to start with a plot pass, and work my way through the end of the book, cleaning up all the messy ends that don't make sense with my new direction. Then I'll go back through and look at my new character directions and make sure every thing every character says and does matches exactly with their intentions. And hopefully my plan of attack will work and get me a totally, 100% shiny novel by SCBWI-LA. Which is a little less than two months away. 

I better get revising.

So, that's my plan of attack. How do you handle major revisions?


  1. This is about how I would do it -- Lists, lists, lists! I make my lists with little boxes so I can make check marks or (even more fun) giant X marks so I feel accomplished.

    I actually need to do the exact same thing, too... But first I need to do the whole "other people look at my WiP" part... *cringes*

  2. I love lists. This love also ties in with my other love- stationary! There's nothing quite like scribbling a new list in a brand new notebook to make a stationary addict smile. It makes me feel so snazzy and organised...even if I am just procrastinating.

  3. Great idea. I have the first draft of my ya novel outlined on note cards. Makes things a little easier to know what is going on for rewriting and revising.

  4. sounds like a really good plan!
    i might borrow that idea when i finally finish my first draft and get on to doing the revisions.

  5. oooh - Lists make things so much easier

  6. I'm getting ready to do a major revision on my first MS. I might steal some of your tips because I've yet to figure out how to tackle it.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  7. Sarah - My crit partners helped me so much with my WIP, and continue to help me. Seriously, I know it's scary, but it will change your book for the better. DO IT. (Said with love and encouragement, of course.)

    Sophie - I agree. I spend 95% of my day unorganized, but the list makes me feel accomplished.

    Dawn - Definitely agree, though I never outlined this novel. I'm going to give outlining a try with my next one, though!

    mi - Borrow away!

    Falen - Woot! List lovers unite!

    Karen - I sat on this one for a long time before I finally got into the heavy editing. Being organized is helping a lot!

  8. Those are some really heavy changes, and your plans sound awesome. Good luck!

  9. I have to say that I do not do lists too much but it makes sense with what you're doing. Sometimes with plots I do check-lists so I guess there is a list involved.

    I map things out. However, this is a great plan of attack when it comes to re-editing and fixing a novel. Re-writing entire novels are hard and often times inadvisable, unless there is no hope for the previous.

    It sounds awesome what you're doing and I wish you luck on it. Keep us informed.


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