My manuscript has worn a path through the grass. I try to go in a slightly different direction, and I find myself on the same little trail where I started. The path is pretty, but I must kill my darlings. (Nothing like a good mixed metaphor to start the morning, I find the little start of revulsion refreshing.)
Affirmative, Captain. Rewrite protocol 6778 initiating…wait. That’s what I’ve done before. It’s time to break protocols. And yet. The Fucker is about not being escape who I am. I cannot revise my book into something I’m not. I’ve done that before. Narrow it down to one storyline. Have you met me? (Most of you haven’t, but let’s just say my “free-ranging” storytelling style that you see here has been edited slightly for coherence.)
Here are some revision techniques I’ve been considering:
Read through the manuscript and take out the sentences/paragraphs that you can pry from my cold dead hands. What wouldn’t I take out if Betsy Lerner herself called me on the phone for the express purpose of having me deleted said line/sentence/paragraph? See what I have left, and build an arc from there.
[Insert Noah pun.]
Teri says have a question and answer it with the book. Although I’ve done this, I’ve never sat with the question printed out next to me and looked at every single fucking paragraph and said “You. Yeah, you, paragraph about paragliding in the Arctic, do you match the overall arc, which is ‘Why do I no longer believe in the Easter bunny?’ No? Cut.”
Read Anne Lamott (for the first time), and cry.
Become a mechanic.
I know where the book starts and where it ends. Write about 9 things that got me to the event at the end of the book. (Suggested by Lovely Beta Reader 3.)
What techniques do you use for a major revision? Help.