Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 12, 2009

More on Revisions

Richard Peck says after you have finished your full revision, go back and take out 20 more words per page. 

James Scott Bell says go back and identify the 10 weakest scenes in your novel.  Number them one to ten and immediately throw out number one.  Move to number two and ask yourself who is the POV character and what is he after in the scene?  If he isn’t after anything, give him something to go after or cut the scene.  It must be clear to the reader at the beginning of the scene, so have the character tell it or show it in his actions.  Next, what is the obstacle that is keeping the character from getting what he wants?  There are three you can use:

1.  Another character opposes him – consciously or unconsciously.

2. The character himself is fighting an inner battle or is lacking something that gets in the way.

3.  A physical circumstance gets in the way, making it hard or impossible for him to acheive what he wants.

Finally Mr. Bell says to look at the outcome of the scene.  Did the character obtain his objective or not?  For the greatest tension it should be not.  Because trouble is the tension that you need to keep a reader reading.  Do this for all ten scenes that you have identified.

Both Richard Peck and Jame Scott Bell suggest acting out all of the scenes in your book as you read it out loud.

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