Smuggle and Stitch, part 2 – with samples

I promised I would share some examples of this type of revising. This may not be the best illustration I could offer, but I didn’t want to make things run too long. It is taken from my current work-in-progress (wip) about five sisters who set out on what may be the last road trip they will ever take together. Remembrances of their past and revelations about the present threaten their relationships and their future. You might suspect that this is a dense novel – relationships amongst five women equal 25 relationships to illuminate – and you’d be right. So part of the task is telling the whole story fully in as economic a way as possible. Which means I’m in for several passes of revisions.

FOCUSING ON THE SMUGGLE AND STITCH

In these side-by-sides samples, the Original version has blue highlights where I took out the sections that do not appear in the Revised version. The Revised version has the added/new material highlighted all in green.

This revision encompassed three tasks.

  • First, it eliminated unnecessary words. (And, of course, in compiling this post, I’ve noticed more I need to remove, but that’s for another day.)

  • Second, it smuggled in details that were important for the reader to get an accurate view of the scene, and to foreshadow, or at least drop clues to the reader about something the sisters were missing.

  • Third, it stitched in the beginning of my new material, hopefully integrating it with the original material smoothly.

In addition to what is shown here, I had to go through earlier parts of the  manuscript to smuggle in further hints and information so that this section made sense. When I make the next, full-manuscript revision, I will watch out for where my efforts did not work and what kind of fixes they require.

This may be the most difficult kind of re-writing there is. Certainly it holds up a project. But, from past experience, I can tell you it may be the most important kind there is to face down and conquer.


It may be difficult for readers to spot what I mean in these examples. This kind of coaching often works better in an interactive environment. If you have questions about what I’ve done here, or even if you disagree, please feel free to comment and we’ll have a conversation.

‘ta

Not-so-Easy Does It

We all need encouragement and inspiration to write a story, but that kind of support is easy. We tell you how you have so much to say and you’ll say it so well.  We remind you that you have a unique voice, and that we can’t wait to read your work. Then we ship you off to your study or desk with everything from a plate of beans and coffee to filet mignon and a glass of wine and wait for your golden manuscript to appear. 

Okay, who said, ‘Yeah, right’?

All right, I get it. Writing isn’t that easy; neither is helping someone write. But it can be easier than the next step. Revision.

I enjoy a number of creative pursuits besides writing. One is house renovation. Ask anyone; I’d rather build a new bathroom than clean one.

BR1rough

 

Recently I heard Canadian Contractor turned YouTuber  Jeff Thorman  (Home RenoVision DIY),  remark that “Anytime we’re doing dry wall mud or any other kind of finishing, we start from rough and push toward finished.”

 

BR2partial

 

 

 

 

The concept applies to a lot of creative endeavors besides building.

 

logoFRS010115  Painting

logoFRS010115  Sculpting

logoFRS010115   Dance – even choreography starts with rough blocking of movement before it finalizes into polished dance steps and poses.

 

How often do we tell writers: Just get the first draft done; get the main story down in print. Then you can go back and rework it.

Rework it. Revise. Revision is, according to some 90% of writing. What does the process look like? Many writers work in steps.

  1. Revision 1 may be to remove all the over-used words. We each have our ‘favorites’, our personal crutches that we put in when we think there is a blank space that needs filling, eg, just, very, that. So the first pass may be to remove those unnecessary placeholders from our manuscript.
  1. The next one may be to clarify passages, put more imagery into description, add more authenticity to dialogue, more substance to characters.
  1. Revision No. 3 may be to remove the new set of over-used words. You can throw in eliminating the overworked phrases for good measure.
  1. An entire new pass to straighten out the plot tangles resulting from added material in Revision 2

And so on.

First draft, second draft, …, thirtieth draft. However many it takes to reach the point where you put down your pen and decide it is really… 

BR3nearly done

 

 

 

REALLY…

 

 

 

BR4done

…Done.

 

The list here doesn’t encompass the question of how to fix things. My next few blog posts will deal in greater detail with the agony of revision, an agony only outweighed by its value.

 


“Anytime we’re doing dry wall mud or any other kind of finishing, we start from rough and push toward finished.”

Jeff thorman Home RenoVision DIY

 

TIP ~ INKAS ~ #3

Finally returning to our INKAS.  Poetry is  the next form of writing I want to discuss.

PoetryINKA

Working with multiple age levels in poetry can be tricky, something I learned early on in the years I coached Writer’s Club. Levels of understanding vary as much as levels of ability. On the other hand, nothing is more refreshing than to hear the original thinking that goes on in a new poet, especially when they are young. And, there is a form of poetry for everyone.

Poetry expresses our innermost thoughts and feelings. Poems can be funny — think Dr. Seuss — or sad. A poem can tell a story, as in a ballad, or it can describe a single internal moment in a person’s soul. Poetry is recited for entertainment and for learning. It can brighten our memories with a description of a grand day at the beach or touch our hearts with tender lines of love. Poetry connects the mind with the heart and the soul.

You will find that there are all kinds of poetry. There are poems that rhyme every other line, and there are poems that rhyme no words at all. There are poems only two lines long – couplets, and there are poems over 70 lines long: ballads.

Rhyming patterns – referred to as schemes – are described by assigning rhyming words the same letter. So, a limerick, where the 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyme and the 3rd and 4th lines rhyme would be described as having a rhyme scheme of ‘aabba’.


APoemSometimes new poets like the idea of writing poetry because it is short – but that is an illusion. It takes thought to put expression into a few words or phrases. A good poem can take as long to write as a long story. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write a poem quickly, especially if you are excited about it.

One thing that young poets don’t always seem to know is how to present a poem visually.

Poetry is usually not written in complete sentences but in phrases.  It is not shaped like a paragraph but takes shape on a screen or paper in such a way that the reader knows went to stop and start and what the rhythm of the poem is. The look of the poem adds to the pleasure and meaning of the poem.

I find it easier to write a poem completely, then look it over and adjust the punctuation, the capitalization, and the lines so that it reads the way I want it to.


I said earlier that there is a form of poetry for everyone. Below is a  not all-encompassing of some of the different forms of poetry. Some you will recognize; some you won’t. You can read more about poetry forms and how to write it, including such details as meter and stanza, imagery and onomatopoeia, at Poetry 101: Learn about Poetry (where you can also find a link to details on US Poet Laureate Billy Collins’s MasterClass).  I’m not posting this info as a promotion, it’s just a fact that you will find the link there.

Poetryforms

We write for many reasons, and we choose the form our writing takes based on those reasons. For expressing emotion, discerning truth, and unlocking secrets of the universe, there is nothing so useful as poetry. Happy writing!

‘ta