Monday, July 13, 2015

Revision Playbook

I’m something of a sports junkie, particularly when it comes to college basketball and professional football. I sometimes think I would have liked to have been a coach, prowling the sidelines with a headset and a clipboard.

I’m just now starting the revisions on the sequel to THE FAR EMPTY, and although I don’t have a headset, I do have a trusty clipboard that will soon be propped up next to my desk.  While it doesn’t hold play sheets, it does function as my own “revision playbook” – a list of the common issues and concerns I want to keep in mind when I make my final few passes, after the big issues (plot, etc.,) have already been cleaned up.  I cribbed different things from various editing books, distilled it all onto a single page, and attached it to a titanium-strength clipboard. 

It’s silly, in some ways, but I’ve found it to be useful. When my clipboard is out, I know I’m in conscious revising/editing mode – I also know I’m in that last run up before I’m ready to let someone else take a fresh look at the manuscript. It’s both a mile marker and a tool. I’ve said it here and elsewhere that I’m a process guy, I have a work method and I work that method. Of course, there’s no true “right way” to write, but there’s a way that’s right for me, and my goofy revision clipboard is part of that.

While the clipboard is a little overkill, the wisdom contained on it is not. It’s sound editing advice that I go back to again and again.

I'll also take a moment to plug a fellow author: Brian Panowich's debut book just hit the shelves last week...

I've had the chance to get to know Brian a little bit through Putnam, and he's been a great resource for me. BULL MOUNTAIN is garnering wonerful reviews, and it's worth the read.

As always, keep writing - JTS

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