Friday, January 4, 2013

Plot Revision: Do Just One Thing

SCBWI asked us not to publish all or any part of Cheryl Klein's talk transcript online or in our blogs. I haven't done that, and my intent is to give homage to this workshop and talk about how I'm working to apply it. To further give her appropriate credit, I recommend you check out Cheryl Klein's book, SECOND SIGHT, AN EDITOR TALKS ON WRITING, REVISING, & PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS.
 I've learned a lot with these plot revision exercises. I realize that while I'd rather edit than, say, see a slasher movie (not a horror fan) I still fear it. I've caught myself continuing to write ideas and new scenes. This is good, but it's become a way to delay my actual revision work.
 Like any writing, revising children's fiction can feel intimidating. Instead of trying to tackle subplots and story arc and theme and pacing at once, I've decided to focus on one area each day. 
Here's my list written January 1rst:
January 2: Add my new scenes that I've been rewriting. Revise my scene outline to incorporate those new scenes, especially the ones at the end which I need to change so that the character is acting, not just reacting, to other characters' behavior.  
January 3:Go through my notes of things to fix for my book, and highlight important things to do. Use a different highlighter for important theme elements.
January 4: Go through my book outline and identify an obstacle for each scene.
There is still something missing in the end of this book. So even though I love this book, I'm feeling like a loser because I still can't identify how to fix the ending. 
And I confess, I still haven't finished the Jan. 2 goal. I did, however, do the other two. There's something good about being able to say I did what I said I did instead of focusing on that "L on my forehead" and mourning over all I still haven't finished.
If there's something in your writing life you're dreading, can you break it into smaller tasks? 
Start today. 
Just do One Thing.


Renae Weight Mackley said...

I love the one about having an obstacle in each scene. Thanks.

Becca said...

Thank you, Renae.