Monday, January 29, 2007

Revision, according to Carolyn See

No work on the book this weekend, but a firm resolution to begin today, and I did, amazingly.

First I outlined the rest of the chapters--21 through 30--on this roll of newsprint that Travis used to draw on I wrote down the major actions of the chapters.

Then I re-read the section in Carolyn See's book, Making a Literary Life, on writing--in particular, revision. I love that book and I love Carolyn.

I took notes, and I give them to you now, here:

1. Reread the entire mss., making only the most minor of changes. Read, don't edit. You have to know what you have before you can begin sculpting.

2. Read again. On second reading, make a list: What I have/What I need. This should run 10-20 pages for a novel.

*Work only 2 hours at a time. After 2 hours, it's all blather.*

3. The third step is to make a one sentence summary of each of your chapters. (See says her ideal novel is comprised of 12 chapters with 30 pages to each chapter, giving you 360 pages.)

4. Do another "What I have/what I need" list, which should look sweeter and more barren than the first time you did it.

Read it through a couple more times.


So I did my newsprint roll outline and began reading. It's good to not make changes yet, because I'd be crossing out all over the place.

But I do make notes. On the typewriter, I wrote: "Put more food in it." It is, after all, called Starletta's Kitchen. My son, who's been typing on the Hermes 2000 lately, laughed.

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