Wednesday, October 3, 2012
My revision passes usually have specific purposes. When I've finished my first draft, my first revision deals solely with plot. I rearrange here, add or subtract there, build up plot threads and kill off and combine characters. I do additional revisions focusing on character, setting, dialogue, beginnings and endings, etc. But I've recently added another revision pass that has changed the way I look at the entire process. I call it the "make bad choices" pass.
I've written before about my tendency to make my characters too good for their own good. Sure, bad things might happen to them, but my initial impulse is to let them take the high road to get out of any mess.
Now, I still let them have their nobility in my first draft, but when I get to the make bad choices draft, well, I let them make bad choices.
So here is what I do. I go through my manuscript and mark up every time my characters make a choice. It could be as monumental as whether to have sex or as small as what flavor ice cream to order. Then, I make them make the worst possible choice and see what happens. The results could be as devastating as a teen pregnancy or as embarrassing as a white shirt with a chocolate stain in a strategic spot. I may not keep every bad choice, but I always end with a meatier, more tension-filled story.
Anybody else care to share about revision?