Revision requires an author to see her work with new eyes. Here are some quotes and links I used in my revision class. I hope they point you in the right direction with your own work:
Quotes from Novel Metamorphosis:
Revision: What is the most dramatic way to tell this story?
“Revisions are the messy route toward powerful stories. …I never tell someone how to revise their story. Instead, I ask you to look at your story in different ways, apply various strategies of revisions, and tell your story, your way. You are in control and will make all the decisions yourself.”
“Competence is a hard-won prize that only comes with lots of study and practice.”
Quotes from Second Sight:
“When you’re writing that first draft, don’t worry about following the rules. Instead, tell yourself the story you’ve always wanted to hear, the story you’ve never read anywhere else, the one that scares you with the pleasure of writing it. Treasure the joy of the work, because it is hard work, but when you can find that just-right word, that perfect plot twist — there are fewer greater pleasures.”
“Editors work forward from the manuscript to make its truth all it can be…paying attention to details that add up to an overall result.”
“Good prose repeats words in close proximity to each other only by strategy or design, not by accident or sloppiness.”
“I test every sentence against the question ‘What purpose doest this serve?’”
“An editor’s greatest joy is a writer who can recognize his own weaknesses and respond with an intelligent revision.”
“For a writer, an artist, making a choice gives you something to work with. You make a choice, get the words on the page, see if it feels right. If it doesn’t, you edit it or go back and make a different decision. The hardest thing is getting past the fear of making a choice at all.”
Saul Bellow: “The main reason for rewriting is not to achieve a smooth surface, but to discover the inner truth of your characters.”
Quotes from Writing Irresistible KidLit:
“As you’re sitting down to write, you need to ask yourself: Am I writing a specific story that could only happen to this character in this world, in this time? What am I trying to say with this story? What do I want my readers to think when they put my book down?”
“What questions or mysteries does your first line raise?”
“Just because you put it first doesn’t mean that your current opening section is the real beginning.”
“Be a curator, not a camera…Believe it or not, most beginning writers will transcribe, as if they were a video camera…Another big mistake is focusing on transition scenes because you think you need to show how a character gets from one place to another.”
Novelists: You Are Gifted and Talented :: Darcy Pattison
WFMAD The Bones of the Writing Process, Parts 1 and 2 :: Laurie Halse Anderson
23 Essential Quotes from Ernest Hemingway About Writing :: The Write Practice
WFMAD (Write Fifteen Minutes a Day) Revision Roadmap #18 :: Laurie Halse Anderson
WFMAD Temper Tantrums and Do Overs :: Laurie Halse Anderson
I don’t want an honest critique :: Darcy Pattison
WFMAD Getting Feedback on Your Story :: Laurie Halse Anderson
WFMAD Belonging to a Critique Group Without Murdering Anyone :: Laurie Halse Anderson
Amy Rogers Hays says
Hi Caroline! I totally resonate with that last quote you have from Mary Kole : “Be a curator, not a camera…Believe it or not, most beginning writers will transcribe, as if they were a video camera…Another big mistake is focusing on transition scenes because you think you need to show how a character gets from one place to another.” I think it’s good to put yourself in your main character’s shoes, but there is a lot of stuff that I can write just for me, that no one else needs to read, because it’s a rather boring transition! I don’t know why, but it’s so freeing to hear that other people struggle with that as well!
Yes! I remember being so stuck moving my protagonist around in my first manuscript. I felt like I had to explain every action. I remember later reading an article that talked about “teacup writing” — she picked the tea cup up, she held it to her lips, she took a sip, she put the tea cup down — and it made me laugh. That was me!
One thing I’ve tried to remember is we can trust our readers to follow what’s happening without overly explaining things.