Don’t think of it as ‘revising.’ It’s ‘reinvisioning.’ Of course!

NOTE FROM LB: Those who know me know how crazy having to do revisions makes me. Or rather, “made me.” It’s different now because this:

Revision – Embracing Change
by Andrea Custer

After years of creating the puzzle, making sure all the pieces fit perfectly, it became time to embrace the unthinkable: Throw out a third of the pieces, and reorder the rest into the same story, only different.

The challenge was immediately apparent – I’d spent so long coming to understand the story in one specific way I’d lost the ability to see how it could be improved by cutting certain scenes, or how moments could be combined to keep the pace moving. Then there was the insecurity – what if I cut a scene that had some important subplot, or breadcrumb critical to later story happenings? I needed a way to make sure nothing essential fell through the cracks during the revision process. Not to mention the sense of overwhelm when I thought about the work involved in the revision I was contemplating.

I needed a new perspective, a safety net, and a way to bypass the inner critic. Here’s what worked for me . . .

I printed out the entire story, single sided. I stapled together each scene or chapter, so I could move story moments in discrete blocks. In the upper left hand corner I wrote why the scene or chapter was essential – what plot point happened, and what character emotional growth was realized. I used blue pen for these notes. In the upper right hand corner, I noted any breadcrumbs, foreshadowing, or subplot elements I wanted to keep in mind. I used purple for these, just to keep them visually distinct.

Then I started to place chapters on the floor by guessing generally where they might fall in the re-envisioned story. I had in mind that I would create a plot map on the floor of my living room….

Read it all at