Revision Tips for the Do-It-Yourselfer
|Photo via Daniel R. Blume on Flickr|
When we first moved into this house 11 years ago, the walls and linoleum were all white, the carpet beige, and we had several rooms that didn’t even have furniture in them. Over time, after agonizing over paint swatches, we slowly started painting the walls, buying new furniture and changing out the bedding and curtains. There were times when a certain paint color dried on the walls and it looked nothing like we envisioned it would. Much to my husband’s dismay, we had to repaint the entire kitchen and living room when the sunny yellow I picked out had more of a sickly greenish-yellow sheen than we wanted. This past fall, we finally got serious about redecorating and remodeling. We ripped up the carpet and linoleum in living room and kitchen and replaced it with wood floors. We gave the kitchen a much-needed facelift and replaced the countertops, backsplash, light fixtures, and brought in new stainless-steel appliances. We now have three different stripes of paint on the walls as we decide on a new, fresh, more neutral paint color.
At the same time, the YA novel I’ve been working on for the past few years is also getting the facelift it needs. While there have been months when I've let the latest draft of the book collect dust on my desk, with the help of editing and critique partners, the latest version is getting more and more polished by the day. I’ve finally (I think!) whipped the opening pages into shape; cutting sections that provided unnecessary back story and adding more tension and character interiority to the first chapters. I’ve tightened up my sentences, added more action verbs and made sure the character’s voice is appropriately aged. Similar to the way I’m preparing to purchase new placemats for my kitchen table, wall art for the fireplace mantle and throw pillows for my couch, I now have ideas for a few extra embellishments to add to my manuscript, such as new scenes that will add an extra layer of depth to the story.
While the new paint color goes up on the walls and the perfect accent pieces find their new place in my home, it is my hope that rejuvenation will also grace the pages of my novel. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery to gain new perspective.
Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also dreams of writing middle-grade and YA novels for children—she’s currently working on one of each. She is also a blog tour manager for WOW! Women on Writing and is seeking bloggers to host author and journalist Lorraine Ash and her spiritual memoir, Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life. The tour begins in August. Please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.