When I need to clean out the cobwebs and dust off the brain cells, I do a bit of focused internet cruising. Here are some links to posts and tools designed to rekindle your energy during revision or inspire you to look at your story from a new angle.
A great way to start revising is by cruising through First Page Panda. It’s a fantastic resource packed with a diverse array of first pages: http://www.firstpagepanda.com/ As you read through the posts, think about your manuscript’s first pages. Do your pages highlight your manuscripts genre? Do they show what makes your main character unique? Are they just good and error free--or are they so freaking fantastic that a reader will want to devour your story in one sitting?
Refining your elevator pitch is code for checking your manuscript’s focus. Seriously. Have you ever had a hard time writing a pitch? It can mean your plot is skewed. David B Coe’s post on writing elevator pitches, synopsis and blurbs offers not only a fantastic technique to create different length pitches, but it also can be used to test if your plot is wobbly. http://www.magicalwords.net/david-b-coe/on-writing-and-publishing-refining-your-elevator-pitch/ And while your double checking to see if your manuscript is focused, you’ll be getting the frustrating process of writing a synopsis and pitches out of the way. Talk about a win-win situation!
Do you use a word frequency counter to check your manuscript? They can point out filler words which you are overusing without realizing it—which is a great revision tool. But they can also point out words which can be used as part of your brand or pitch. Yup, there are evil overused words and beneficial ones. Basically its filler words vs. words which set the tone or another aspect unique to your story (they could even be words which are symbolic). For example, in my current project, I use the filler word ‘back’ more than I should, but the word ‘darkness’ and ‘shadow’ are vital details not only in the story but also the pitch http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp
After all the talk about break-out novels, I love this post on writing a break-in novel. Very wise advice and it just may help you decide which project you should be revising. http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/write-a-break-in-novel/
If voice is one of your weak points—and even if you think it isn’t—check out this post on voice in non point of view characters http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/03/i-hear-you-character-voices-in-non-pov.html This link comes with a warning. There are 500 fantastic articles on Janice Hardy’s site. If you aren’t careful it might take you hostage.
And just because revising requires some smiles and hugs:
So, do you have any favorite posts or books you like to read before starting revisions?
Have you learned any great new techniques lately?