Friday, September 2, 2011

Revision and Organization

Before I get to my post, I want to add a new something to the blog--updates on what I'm reading. So whenever I start a new book, I'll post it in red and the top of the blog.

What I'm reading: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

I love organization. You know The Container Store?..I haul my kids around there at least once every few weeks. Even if we're just window shopping. Sick, I know. But I hate clutter. It feels to me like you can't think straight when surrounded by material chaos.

Now, having said that, I bet you're thinking my house, office and car are simply the perfection of tidily stacked bins and perfectly collected paper clips.

Who are we kidding here. I have two little kids and work outside the home. Tis but a dream my friends. Sigh...here's the reality:
Yes, this is my desk! This is where bills are paid and schedules are managed...this is where I'm supposed to move through the birthing pains of creating a wip!! KELLY, my local Container Store sale representative would be shocked, SHOCKED. Oh, I can talk a good game about label makers and hanging file folders. But the organization walk requires a significant amount of up keep. *hangs head in shame*

Anyway, I'm going to clean my office (again) today. But I also wanted to ask folks about their organization techniques for revising their ms's.

Do you have any special tricks you'd like to share with me? I mean, I've revised and revised...but I'm feeling like maybe some type of overhaul may be in order. I feel like I need to stand back and observe the whole thing.

How do you do that? Anyone? What are your favorite secrets to ms revision?


  1. There was a class on organization in a recent work related training I took. Fabulous class, and I'm such an organizer. But organized at work is different from home. I took on the project of organizing my home desk because of that class and made great progress. One thing I did was decide if I really needed some things on my desk--which I didn't. Getting rid of them freed up a lot of space.

    A few days later a part of my basement flooded (where my office was). It was the third time in a year (we've got something going on with a window well combined with too much rain too fast). And I had to move my desk upstairs. Just as well I'd organized!

    FYI, your desk space is small. It might help if your printed wasn't on top. Isn't there somewhere you could put it out of the way? And you need drawers. You might consider getting a file cabinet. I have a drawer is for the bills, which I pay at my desk. Another drawer is for writing projects. It doesn't mean I don't collect stuff on top, but that's because I need to fine tune my writing drawer. =D

  2. I revise in specific areas, each one represents a revision, or a complete read through where I only focus on those issues: like… grammar, clarity, flow, character motivation, adequate settings, minimal but effective back-story, tension and lastly a solid opening and a satisfying ending!

    That’s my way… I wish there was a trick!

  3. I have one word for the organization of revision notes: Scrivener! :)

  4. I start most of my revisions when I have it completely written and can look at the WHOLE picture and see if I'm missing anything. I do some of it as I'm going along, though.

    The most helpful things are beta readers/crit partners who see the things I miss or the holes I might not have patched properly, and that points me in new directions for revisions. I keep revising and sending to betas until things have been streamlined and organized.

    As far as organizing revisions? Ha. It's either all in my head--I'm good at keeping mental notes of what I need to fix--or I'll jot down a list in a word file. It seems that with every book I write, I find more and more words that I overuse. I have a giant mental list of words that I've trained myself out of writing or that I have to run a search for when I'm finished writing.

    A lot of it is also examining every scene and making sure it adds to the story/characterization. It's deciding what is necessary and what's not and what should just be cut from the story. Or added, in some cases.

  5. I don't like clutter either, but sometimes it can't be helped, like when you have a husband and children... :)

    I don't have a way to organize revisions except to just print out the entire thing and go through it. :)