Saturday, February 28, 2009

Revisions - Again!

I spent the last week revising two WIPs that I have had at our critique group in the past year. As Meg has been saying, we have a great group. The members isolate the elements of the manuscript that need work, and once the writer digests the reviews, she can see that they are right on - that this character needs more or different motivation or more realistic dialogue, or that you might need a different angle on the plot.

I often wait a bit after the group critique and then can go back and read and assimilate the comments in the context of time and the whole story. Most of us couldn't do without an involved critique group. Our group knows each other's story characters almost as well as our own and looks forward to seeing them again in successive chapters and critiques.

I was revising my picture book about beaches and a story about New York Island and harbor over the last few weeks, and as I was going over the manuscripts, I could hear again the various members of the critique group suggesting their solutions for specific problems in the stories. As you struggle to make the right fixes you hear their voices and explanations, and as you work by yourself, you feel you are discussing the pros and cons of each choice with mentors, and coming up with good solutions.

Revising is sometimes fun, and always work, but with the suggestions of a good critique group to consider, it produces a good story.


  1. Revision is usually my "happy camper time". It's definitely more fun for me to re-envision a scene. I love revisiting To see where a scene can deepen, or surprisingly what can be taken away. And it always amazes me when I suddenly find the right word or action that brings the story together.

  2. Revision is always work, but, for me, not as hard as the original creation.

    Unlike Eileen, I read through critiques as soon as I get home, while comments are fresh. That is not to say, however, that I always "get" the comments. That might come down the road - like hitting a brick wall - I call it the "Duh Moment".

  3. I read over my critiques as soon as I can, but don't necessarily act on them right away. It depends on where I am in the writing process.

    But I always copy all comments onto one manuscript and refer to the "master" as I revise.

  4. I write very short picture books and I almost never re-read comments. I listen carefully in group and I feel like if I don't "remember" a comment, then it must not have really resonated with me. Maybe that's crazy?

  5. After I've been critiqued, I can't wait to get home and read the comments carefully. Some things I change that day. Other suggestions I ponder and sometimes reject, but I value every critique.

    For me, revising is usually not drudgery. I enjoy searching for the perfect word.

  6. Like J.A., I make a master, writing down everyone's comments in different-colored pencils.

    Like J.A., Meg, and Gale, I also read through critiques asap, sometimes as soon as I leave the session, while in my car, stopped at a red light!

  7. J.L - I'm glad I head in a different direction than you!