Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Several years ago, when I was doing the facilitator training for Write Around Portland, our trainer talked about the revision process for the workshops we would be leading. Then she wrote on the board - which was probably an easel sized sticky note on the wall - Re-Vision.

That changed my perspective of rewrites, of editing my work. Even though I was there to learn the Write Around Portland facilitator way (which is awesome - as a facilitator and as a participant). But it gave me a new insight into working on my own writing.

Last week I was thinking about how I wanted to change the novel. There are many changes, but some of them are structural. One of them was that I needed to strengthen the beginning. I will admit right here that beginnings (at least in my early drafts) are not grab-you-by-the-heart-and-hold-on. I don't mind reading a book which leads me gently into it; I don't need to be hit on the head or have a murder in the first scene; I can wait if the writing is good and the trail of word crumbs looks like it's leading somewhere I want to go.

But I've also read a couple of books with really strong openings recently and I thought, That! That is what I want my books to do at the beginning. Not all of them, maybe; but this novel I'm working on right now, it needs a solid opening.

So I played around with finding what would be about the first 25 pages for the writing retreat I will be attending in October. I even printed it out because my schedule has a few breaks built into it where a paper editing process will work and on the computer won't.

One day I was driving to work, thinking about writing and something else, and that word came to me: Re-Vision. And in the next minute I knew what I was going to do for my new opening. And I did it.

The novel now has a new beginning. It is a section from a later chapter in the book, which has some excitement and a bit of a hook. And it is pivotal to the story - but that doesn't come out until later. It can't come out until later or else I'd have the whole thing wrapped up in a short, boring ten pages or so. Maybe more.

That new beginning chapter? It's written. And revised. I need to do one more look over for myself and will probably make some changes; but I should have that opening chapter in its Re-Visioned state done by the end of this week.

Once again I have discovered that editing can be fun.

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