Monday, February 08, 2010

Manuscript Makeover - Chapter One - Inside Out: The Voice of Style

A group of us are reading "Manuscript Makeover" by Elizabeth Lyon and this is my take on her book. It is one you should read.

I just read the Introduction, and I totally agree that there are as many ways to revise as there are authors.

Pg. 4 half-way down was what I learned in Margie Lawson's Edits class. The examples were fascinating to read.

Cultivate deep listening:
LOL, her first sentence cracked me up. I 'mishear' words all the time. I guess it might be my tinnitus. I've read that you should read your work aloud. In judging contest entries, if there's an awkward sentence, I tell the author to read it aloud.

I have a program on my other laptop called TextAloud. I see where you can download a free trial at . I have TMJ, I think that's the right initials, but if I talk aloud for a continuous amount of time, my jaws ache.

I'm many pages you should read aloud at one time? A chapter? Ten pages? Speak up, inquiring minds want to know.

Silence critics; banish censors:
There is a Pogo cartoon many years ago...1972..."We have met the enemy and he is us." Oh, so true...

For nay-sayers, Julia Cameron stated in her book, "The Artist's Way", about 'crazymakers', here's a blog entry that deals with this problem.

Practice riff-writing:
Now I like this part. I write very 'tight'...and it's hard to insert new writing into what has already been done. But with riff-writing, I'll be like Scarlett and 'think about that tomorrow'.

Ms. Lyon has a great example of riff-writing.

This is a great concept. I'm in a NaNo writing challenge this month with friends, and am having a difficult time getting the words down, even though I have an outline. So, maybe riff-writing can add words to the page and as Ms. Lyons writes this "example shows what the agents and editors mean when they say, "I know it when I see it," referring to original voice and a fully developed story."

That's what I want!

Revise from your truth:
This is where I'm going in the wrong direction. Putting in the character's emotions, truthfully, is extremely difficult. I'm thinking that the riff-writing might correct some of that. Of going into deep point of view, where I can tap the emotion so that my reader can feel the angst, the hopelessness, the decisions, the joy and the journey that my main characters are traveling toward happiness.

Harvest your emotions:
This section reminds me of Dwight Swain's 'feeling-action-speech,' in his book, "Techniques of the Selling Writer." His book is a classic. It's not an easy book to read, but he brings out techniques that every writer should know. Ms. Lyons also discusses visceral responses. Another Margie Lawson workshop explained that to me. If you haven't taken one of her workshops, do. It will improve your writing tenfold or more.

Catch fireflies:
Another truth, always carry a notepad, pen, and tape recorder to capture those snippets of dialogue, plot twists, etc., that come at odd moments.

I was driving home the other night and some dialogue between two characters came to mind. It was great dialogue. No paper, as if I could even see to write it down, couldn't move to the side of the road as there wasn't any side, just a ditch. Five minutes later when I arrived home, that wondrous dialogue was lost. I might be able to capture some of the words, but I know in my heart that it won't be as good, it never is.

I've also used my subconscious to hammer out plot problems, going to bed at night I concentrate on the problem. It took several weeks but I woke up one morning to an answer to my drives the whole story.

Who knew what to call these 'flashes.' Fireflies is a good name.

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