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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Revision Makeovers

Manuscript revision can be a tricky thing to explain and an even trickier thing to master. There are so many types of revision styles, and very few writers go about revising the same way. What works for some won't work for others...much like perms...and skinny jeans. Along this same hair/clothing line of thought, I like to compare the revision process to a makeover. After all, everyone likes a nice makeover, right? To give you an idea of my take on the spectrum of revision styles, I've detailed the various revision makeover types below:

Al Natural: These writers do very little to their manuscripts to make them fabulous. Their first drafts come out pretty close to the finished product. Plain and simple, these writers are misfits. They're lucky and talented misfits, but misfits nonetheless.

Tweeze as You Please: Grooming their manuscripts continuously is what this type is known for. These writers spend lots of time plucking, prodding, tweaking and brushing up trouble spots throughout their first draft writing process. Naysayers may call this writing vanity, but many would say it's proper manuscript hygiene.

Touch Up & Go: This type of writer leaves his/her manuscript in sweatpants until the day of the publishing ball. The touch up & go writer will miraculously transform his/her manuscript like Cinderella right before sending it off to meet Prince (or Princess) Charming (more commonly known as an agent or editor).

Clever Concealers: These writers are afflicted with manuscript acne (plot holes, character flaws, grammar blemishes, etc.). But have no fear; not all manuscript zits leave scars! A clever concealer will find ingenious ways to hide and/or get rid of said acne with various writerly techniques....some cleansing....and maybe a little acne cream.

Nip/Tuck & Beyond: Nipping and tucking is more common than most would think. Some writers will deny that their manuscript has had this type of work done. After all, if it's a good nip/tuck revision, you may not even notice that a manuscript has had character lifts, plot implants, and bad grammar liposuction... but the bad nip/tucks can be spotted from miles away. Trust me!

Complete Reconstructive Surgery: This is the most invasive and painful form of revision makeover, and the finished product often resembles very little of the first draft. Recovery can be long, tedious and excruciating. This type of makeover may include, but isn't limited to: slicing the setting, dicing dialogue, cutting characters, and ripping up and rewriting some, most, or (heaven forbid) ALL of the manuscript. This type of revision makeover can lead to hair pulling, bursts of hysterics, crossed eyes, and delusional thoughts of quitting entirely. Pain medication in the form of lots of chocolate is typically required.

For the record, I confess that I've tried and survived all of the various revision types above. However, I tend to be a combo of the tweeze as you please and nip/tuck types the most. That's right, I'm not afraid to admit that I've given my manuscripts character lifts and plot implants. Are you?

So what manuscript revision makeover type are you?

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Blogger Sarah Billington said...

My first novel was a tweeze as you please, my second needed complete reconstructive surgery (but its totally hot now) and my third one Im in the process of nipping and tucking.

I never want to go thrugh reconstructive surgery again...

November 21, 2010 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Jennie Bailey said...

I LOVE this!! I wish I were All Natural! I could easily be Tweeze, but then I would never get it finished. I plough on through to the end and then tend to be Complete Reconstructive Surgery girl. What a great blog post idea!

November 21, 2010 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Oooh, I'd love to be al naturel too! But I'm definitely reconstructive surgery girl. My first drafts need a ton of work to look beautiful :)

November 22, 2010 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger DL Hammons said...

Plot implants? LOL!!!!!!!

November 22, 2010 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Talli Roland said...

Haha! This made me laugh - so clever! Sadly I've had to do complete reconstructive surgery more times than I care to think about!

November 23, 2010 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Claire Dawn said...


MS 1 was a def reconstructive surgery. I'm on number 3 now, and I think this one may finally be a touch-up and go. :)

November 23, 2010 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Tess said...

wow, this is so creative. I think I have fallen into several of these categories over time but think I'm mostly a tweeze/please gal.

and, re the 2k11 blog...there is a somewhat hidden word verification at the bottom. Could you be missing that and prompting the error message? On wordpress it is called a "catcha" or something along those lines and is waaay at the almost have to scroll down to find it (wordpress was not my choice and can be touchy but that is a different discussion all together...ha!) Let me know if it is not that because that is something we would need to address.

November 24, 2010 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger TerryLynnJohnson said...

too funny! Love the plot implants! Yeah, I think I've done that! ha ha!

November 24, 2010 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

I must tweet this. It's hilarious! And by the way, one of your previous blog posts about your favorite book titles keeps coming up in my house. My boys still laugh over "Cooking with Pooh."

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2010 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Rachael Harrie said...

Great list, am doing surgery on my MS right now ;)


November 24, 2010 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just thought I'd stop by and say that I loved the Lipstick Laws and will be buying it when it's released! ^^

November 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Amy Holder said...

Sarah - Sounds like you've had a lot of manuscript makeover practice! Good luck with your current nip/tuck!

Jennie - Thanks! It sounds like reconstructive surgery is pretty common, from most of the comments.

Meredith - The beautiful end result is what counts the most! :)

DL - Glad it gave you a laugh!

Talli - Thanks! I agree, I've done reconstructive surgery more times than I'd like to admit too!

Claire - Wow! I'm impressed that you're a touch-up & go on this manuscript. Good luck & I hope your ms snags Prince Charming. :)

Tess - I'm with you on the tweeze/please... it takes longer to write, but there's less clean up needed at the end. About 2k11 - thanks - I'll try again after Thanksgiving & let you know how it goes.

Terry - I'd never know you had plot implants - lol.

Julie - LOL! Happy Thanksgiving & thanks for the tweet!! :)

Rachael - Good luck with the surgery! I hope your ms comes out looking spectacular!

ComaCalm - Thanks so much for stopping by! Your note & review put a huge smile on my face! I'm so glad you liked my book!

November 25, 2010 at 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I fit a few categories depending on the manuscript. I'm definitely not an All Natural, Nip/Tucker, or Reconstructer.

I know an All Natural. He's amazing.

November 25, 2010 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger YA Book Queen said...

Ha, love this post! So completely true too. I wish I was a Al Natural kinda writer...although I think I might be in the latter opinions!

December 2, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

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