Friday, March 22, 2013

Follow-Up on Revision Strategies

Yesterday I wrote about some ideas I read on Facebook about tricks to aid in revising manuscripts.  I put several into action yesterday, and thought I’d report back:

--I did not like retyping!  I mean, I don’t like typing in general, but I found that as I was retyping, my brain sort of shut off and I was just typing the words as quickly as possible.  Perhaps I wasn’t working hard enough to stay out of the mindless zone—for example, perhaps I should have typed a sentence, then paused to stare at it.  I think I was sort of mentally hoping I wouldn’t like this strategy because I really dislike the idea of having to retype a whole book manuscript! I may have biased myself against it.

--I also think the retyping wasn’t working for me because I don’t usually like thinking ONLY about one sentence.  I like thinking about the surrounding sentences…after all, why change “ran” to “hurried” if “hurried” is being used two sentences away?

--As you can guess, I ditched the retyping pretty quickly!  (Plus, what about those new typos that started showing up!?!)

--However, I absolutely loved the giant font strategy.  Within seconds, the story didn’t seem like mine anymore, and I was able to approach it dispassionately.  The words looked different on the screen, as did sentences and paragraphs.  Changing a dash to a comma was a huge deal in 22 font! Each word got my full attention.

--I’ll note that what I was working on was a very short, lyrical piece with basically one scene, so this intense focus was exactly right.  I might feel differently if I were working on something longer, thinking about plot and larger developments, as here I did go a little crazy from time to time when I was looking at a few paragraphs where the story stepped back and I wanted to see more sentences at once.  But really, it was shocking at the end of the day to put the story back into 12 point.  I know that I found changes that I wouldn’t have noticed in regular font, even on paper.  I’m definitely a fan of the giant font.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.