Sunday, June 6, 2010

sunday, bloody sunday

nah, not really. Pretty laid back today. I spent some time with a friend who is laid-up with a cast from her hip to her ankle. Made me think my life is fairly cushy.
It is raining but that is good because my back is crapped out still and if it were lovely  I'd be out there, digging weeds and so on. By the way to your right - a weed - the skeleton of a dandelion. Beautiful wha?

The writing - you do want to know about the revision process don't you? Well thanks to the amazing Elizabeth Spann Craig and her Twitterific Fridays I found lots of help for doing my synopsis. For that is where I'm at. I also found help for the revision in general. As suspected, most writers are in agreement - fix the major plot problems first. No point in painting the bathroom if you are going to move it - no point in getting rid of all the adverbs if whole sections need to be redone.
One of the most helpful posts was on a blog entitled Between Fact and Fiction: How to Write A Synopsis by Nathalie Whipple  and it got me to list my key plot points and then connect the dots. Sounds easy doesn't it? And it was! Most advice about synopsis is for when you're trying to sell your book - it is the dreaded synopsis that publishers and agents are after. I'm doing something different - developing a synopsis as a plan for my second draft. But guess what? Same diff. Mine is a bit longer than I would need to make for my sell-kit but it isn't the ACTUAL DOCUMENT that is key. In fact it isn't ever the actual thing - it is the process. I'm learning about my story as I write and rewrite these synopsie (just made that up - seems right).

I've done steps one and two - now I'm going back at it and refine the writing. I've found out all sorts of things and will be done this process well before I thought I would be. That's OK because once I've got the synopsis the way I want it - I'm going in! Yes sirreee bob! I'm going to start doing all the revisions - one step at a time - starting with the plot and moving forward through the characters, the setting, the dialogue, the suspense, the theme and the language.
So fun. I really really love the revision process. Especially now that I have a much better grasp on what it is and I've surrendered to the process.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Jan -- I'm in that fun revision process, too--with two different manuscripts. One of them should have been done a long time ago but I feel the need to go through it one more time.

If you're interested, I have a series on The Blood-Red Pencil blog called "Self-Editing One Step at a Time." I posted the links on my own March 9th post:

Helen Ginger said...

How did you write the synopsis, Jan? In sentences, like you might submit it to an agent? Or in Plot Points, like an outline only not that formal?

Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

I must have missed Natalie's advice on the synopsis - I'll have to do one soon, so I'll check it out. Thanks. Glad it's working for you :)

Jan Morrison said...

Patricia - thank you! I will be checking that out tomorrow morning. Yay! And keep me posted about your process. I love to hear how people do it.

Helen - first I made the plot points as in
Libby's husband hit by car
L's job in jeopardy
L's sister invites L and P. for Christmas
Then I connected the dots using few words and making sure that the 'words you do use should be dedicated to character motivation and action' as Nathalie says. I'll post the first part of it when I've got one I'm totally pleased with.
Jemi - it is on her list on the side of revisions but you can go there directly from my link in this post...

Julie Musil said...

Good luck with those revisions. And since you've done your synopsis, it sounds like your revisions will be nice and focused!

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks Julie - that's the plan - my first draft is nice and unfocussed! Pretty wild in fact and so I want to pare it down and make sure every scene does what it is supposed to. Ah. Breathe out and mingle breath with all sentient beings. Breathe in and take what is necessary to maintain life. Repeat.

Ann said...

Sounds like it is all coming together nicely for you Jan.

What a beautiful weed!

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Ann - yes it's like a garden star isn't it? Perception is everything.

Barbara Scully said...

Hi Jan - came over from Niamh Boyce's blog. Love this and ur other blog! I will be back. Good luck with the revisions and editing!

Pop by my Kitchen Table some time -

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It’s fun and helpful to learn how other people handle the revision process. I like your synopsis idea. I also plan to go back and check out Patricia’s post on self-editing.

Words A Day said...

Hi Jan, thanks for posting the links, i love trying out different ways of tackling this thing called plot. I think I have an aversion to knowing the "full truth" of what happened, which isnt a practical approach when your are the author is it?!

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Barbara - thanks for dropping by and for the nice comment - I will come and visit you! But not tonight - I just got home...whew...long day!
Jane - yes, I was a little sceptical at first but I've kept at it and I'm really seeing where I need to tighten up the plot and so forth. So that's good. All the rest of it - the characterization, the setting, the dialogue and even the language I'm not so nervous of - but that weird thing called 'plot' yikes!
Niamh - that is so like me! Why should I know - if I totally do I might not be interested anymore. a fine line for sure. I'm slurring my words on the computer and I think I have to go to bed!!

Watery Tart said...

Sounds like you're doing GREAT, Jan! I love that... plot points... connect the dots. Sounds so obvious, doesn't it, yet I've always dived into the bloody things linearly, and it NEVER works!

I'm really glad your process is going well!

Jan Morrison said...

thanks tartlett dear! it is so far - I am a dive in person too, in the first draft part. Then I'm a systems junkie for the revision.