Writing Time, Part 84. Revising That Beloved Older Manuscript, Practical Tips, Part 1

If you’re revising an older novel in the midst of present-day writing projects, the process of chunking it down can be a lifeline to a busy writer. Here’s one way to begin it.

Chunk 1. Mull it Over. This is the easiest bit, and also the hardest, because I want to read my old ms… but, don’t read it yet:

  • Do not read the book yet, but take a day, a week, or a month, to think for a few moments now and then of the shape of the story as you remember it, how the protagonist grows, makes errors, hard choices and sacrifices, and how the supporting cast members force the protagonist into making those errors, hard choices and sacrifices. Remember how much you love those characters.

That’s all, just roll it around on the mind’s tongue. (Ew.) And, find –but don’t read– an early, pleasing file of the book. I found the version of my old novel that I wrote just before I started revising for agents, who then turned me down. For which down-turnings I am now, of course, grateful.

Note on the big picture during revisions: See Writing Time Part 82 .  It’s wise to keep the picture of our grandest writing careers in mind, for just a few moments, each crazy-busy day. The work is challenging enough as it is, and we can use a moment of beauty to think of some aspect of our greater success, whether it’s applause at readings, laughter at signings, or writing alone on a Tuscan veranda beneath the roses.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel


If you enjoy Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

From Pulp Literature Press


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