How I Write: Boxing match of the century: Revision vs. Writer

Announcer: Hello folks and welcome to today’s exciting event. In one corner is the Writer, and in the other corner, Revision. 

 Crowds go wild.

Announcer: It’s been six weeks since the face off when the writer left the ring. You heard it right, folks. But the Writer is back and in top shape. She’s been training for this night for over a month. Let’s see if she’s got what it takes.

Revision curls its pages and glares at the writer. No words are needed.

The writer chews on peanut MnMs, then cracks her knuckles.

Announcer: The bell rings and the match has started. Writer jabs to the right and leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the manuscript.

 Revision curls over, gasping for air.

 Revision: You’ll never fix me now. Your line edits won’t make a dent.

 Announcer: Writer doesn’t give in to Revision’s trash talk. Instead, she attacks. She cuts and pastes and rewrites. She trims and tightens. She checks each scene for goals and motivation. We’ve never seen such action from our Writer. Revision is folding under the weight of sensory details and strong verbs.

Crowds throw red ink pens at Revision.

Announcer: Writer backs away, exhausted, her fingers limp, her eyes crossed from the strain. Does she have the strength to make this a knock out? But wait, folks. Revision is back on its feet.

Revision flaunts the typos, overwriting, and forced emotion.

Writer wobbles on her feet.

Announcer: This is not looking good for our Writer.

Crowds quiets. Everyone bites their fingernails while clutching onto their favorite novels.

Writer: Help!

A murmur spreads through the crowd.

Announcer: By golly, folks. Three crit partners have stepped into the ring and hold up our Writer by the arms. They whisper and point and then leave the ring. Writer stands tall and with one last KAPOW, the Revision crumbles.

Our Writer is the winner!!!    

Statement in Newspaper of play by play plan of attack by Writer:

Take a 4-6 week break from your manuscript. Then print out and read through.

Macro Edits:

  • Goal/motivation
  • Inciting incident
  • Three-act structure
  • Big twist in middle
  • Plants and payoffs
  • Emotion
  • Tension
  • Time line

REWRITE and repeat as needed.

Micro Edits:

  • Strong verbs and nouns
  • Dialogue
  • Sensory details
  • Internal thoughts
  • Micro tension in each scene
  • Description/setting

 And that’s it, folks. That’s how the Writer defeated Revision. Writer is open to any tips or suggestions.

 (Check out Ansha’s blog for a complete list of participating writers!)





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18 Responses to How I Write: Boxing match of the century: Revision vs. Writer

  1. patti July 28, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Oh, oh, oh, this is WONDERFUL!
    Laura, as I am fighting through final edits on “The Rhythm of Secrets,” you have wiped my forehead and put that sticky thing to stop bleeding on my cuts.


    P.S. Have my FIRST AUTHOR guest at Spanning Seas and secrets today and would LOVE to have you say hi.

  2. Karen B. Schwartz July 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Love this, Laura. Sounds like you’re the victor!

  3. Marcia July 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    *crowd throws red ink pens at revision*

    Still chortling. Love it.

  4. Ansha Kotyk July 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Okay I LOVE the boxing analogy… mostly because I always feel beat up after a round of revision. 🙂

    • Laura July 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

      Karen – Hopefully, I’m the victor. I’m just about to start. 🙂

      Marcia – Thanks!

      Ansha – I think that’s a good thing to feel tired and beat up after revision. If not, you may not be doing something right!

  5. Laura Marcella July 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Love this! I agree with Ansha, so I’m super glad the Writer conquers!!!

  6. Tina Lee July 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Yay! Making revision fun! I like it but I think mostly on the micro level. It is on the macro list that I have gotten so stuck. Once again you have written a post I am going to refer back to!

    • Laura July 28, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

      Thanks Laura!

      Tina – In the past, I’ve just focused mainly on micro editing, but revision is so much more than that. Even though I’ve read that before, it never really sank in. And for me, it’s harder to make changes after micro editing and polishing, so I’m saving that for the end. If we’ve read a lot, our writing will most likely follow a good structure anyway, but I want to check to make sure!

  7. Steven K. Griffin July 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    LOL…this is great. Nice list of macro and micro edits. Some of those can even be used when putting together an outline. Adding them to my checklist now.

  8. Robert Guthrie July 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Fun fight. Just like writing.

  9. Jennifer Shirk July 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Ha! That’s great!
    Congrats on your recent “win”. 🙂

  10. Creepy Query Girl July 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    yeah!!! *cue ‘we will rock you!’* Personally I HATE revision but this was a great post and attitude to take on editing.

  11. Jen July 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Loved this! Especially since I’m in revisions right now, made it more light hearted and fun, LOL Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    PS I’m hosting a blog fest that’s going to be a ton of fun!!! Just incase you want to stop by and see 🙂

  12. Tatiana Caldwell July 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    *laughs* That was fantastic, Laura! Funny and yet oh so true!

  13. kris July 29, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    I love it, Laura! Awesome post. Entertaining and informative–and great notes on the micro/macro. I forget about the macro stuff sometimes focusing on the minutia.

  14. Anita Miller July 29, 2010 at 3:21 am #

    Very nice, fun! You make a lot of sense here. This may just make it to my printer. 🙂

  15. Kay July 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    I love it! I will definitely be coming back for encouragement and inspiration!


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