Tags: collaboration

Revising The Way You See The Story

by Amber Keyser
Published on: September 12, 2014
Categories: Craft
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Pygmy hedgehog unrelated to revision but very cute

Pygmy hedgehog unrelated to revision but very cute

I’m working on a still-not-yet-announced series project with a collaborator. The two of us created the concept and fleshed out setting, characters, themes, and backstory together. We plan to alternate writing the books in the series, all the while acting as each other’s first and most important critique partner. In this way, we can maintain a cohesive feel from book to book. Plus it’s fun!

Recently this process offered me an important insight into the revision process. I start books with loose character sketches, bullet point outlines, and often a feeling or tone that I am going for. I have a tenuous grasp on the themes I’m exploring (because, of course, I’m still exploring).

As the book proceeds, the characters become fully-fleshed, real and breathing. The plot demands unforeseen twists and turns. The themes clarify as the feeling/tone pervades everything. Things change. Often (Always?) the original framework no longer describes what I have written. The narrative is becoming real, but the author (ME!) is still clinging to what I thought would happen or who I thought the character was.

The necessary revision is NOT making the narrative fit what my original vision was but instead taking the time to re-envision the whole concept with what I now know to be true about the various elements of the story.

From now on after the first draft, I will always make a conscious effort to ask myself how what I thought I was doing relates to what I actually did and use this information to redo character sketches, summary, outline, and logline.

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