I’m currently in revision mode, as I’m revising two novellas I recently drafted.

Now, editing, in my mind, involves the more nuts and bolts, grammar-type stuff. The stuff that used to bore me to tears when I was in grade and high school.

Do they still teach sentence diagramming at school?

Then there’s the stage I like to think of as post-draft research. Usually, when I first begin a story, I do just enough research to feel comfortable enough to draft.

If, however, I come to a part in my drafting where I need to know something specific I don’t stop writing. I use the Comment bar in Word and leave one of those comment bubbles, indicating I need to research this and once I get the answer, here’s where it goes. I’d rather not stop the flow of the draft in order to do research.

Sometimes I may have to do some Q&A (quick and dirty) research in order to continue on with the draft, but usually I just leave a comment bubble and move on.

The reason I don’t like to do a lot of extensive research prior to drafting is that, one, I’m lazy and two, I don’t see a need to learn everything about a subject when, more than like, it’s not going to appear in the story.

I do believe in getting a general idea of a topic that I’m not familiar with, but I tend to like to wait until I have drafted the story before I start more intensive research. That way, I know exactly what to research and it focuses my efforts. I really have no desire to spend hours and hours doing research.

So along with editing and the post-draft research, there’s the revisioning. Or, as I like to think of it, the re-visioning. That’s where I look at my story and characters with new vision, especially if I’ve let the draft steep for a bit before tackling it.

It’s rare that I’ll tear a story down and start all over again. I tend to do a bit of preparation before beginning a draft in order not to have to do that.

But I may find that a character needs some adjusting, or the plot isn’t going exactly where I had hope, or, perhaps, during drafting it took an unexpected turn or detour. Then come the process of deciding whether to continue on the path I had first envisioned for the story or going down this new road.

It’s hard-work, this re-visioning process, but it’s also a lot of fun.


4 Responses to Re-Vision

  1. Good luck Jenna!
    This week I continue revising the mid part of my novel.

  2. Lori Devoti says:

    I was a star at diagramming sentences. 🙂 Ah, the good times….

  3. Digital Dame says:

    It is SOOOOOO easy to get bogged down researching something, as if you were writing a thesis on it, rather than incorporating bits into a story. I think you have a good approach. I use the Comments function, too, or else just put across the page where I need to insert stuff “RESEARCH (WHATEVER IT HAPPENS TO BE)” all in big block letters so I can find it easily.

    I doubt they teach diagramming anymore, I’m pretty sure neither of my kids learned it.

  4. jennareynolds says:

    Thanks, Gypsy Scarlett! Good luck to you too!

    Why am I not surprised, Lori. 🙂 I read an article in some writing magazine where the author suggested that writers diagram their sentences.

    Digital Dame: I like doing research, but you’re so right, it’s too darn easy to get swept away by it and do that instead of writing.

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