When Killing is Kind

JordanCraft, Musings, Writers on Revision

I know we writing teachers/editors can be glib with our aphorisms. “Show, don’t tell,” “Cut those adverbs,” and, perhaps most patronizing, “Kill your darlings.” The last one used to really bother me. If it’s darling to me, it must good right? How dare you tell me that an entire scene, much less chapter, isn’t working. I’ve had the good fortune to interview a lot of writers, both in my time as a contributing editor for Writer’s Digest magazine, and on my literary radio show Word by Word. And you know what I’ve found? There are writers out there who scrapped ENTIRE BOOKS and wrote them from scratch. In my own revision I have discovered that those scenes and lines I … Read More

JordanWhen Killing is Kind

You Already Know (What you need to do)

JordanBusiness of Writing, Craft, Writers on Revision

When my clients send off their manuscript to me many of them will then embark on a 4 to 6 week-long process of agonizing. Some of them email me during the process, even though I say up front that I will only give feedback in total. They want to know if I hate it, love it, think they should give up altogether, or quit their day jobs. They fear what I am going to say. It can be agony to wait, I know. Right now I’m doing the same thing with my own novel. Readers are reading it. Some have given me early feedback, bless them, but mostly on the first act. That leaves two acts hanging in the balance. And … Read More

JordanYou Already Know (What you need to do)

It Happens to the Toughest of Us

JordanCraft, Writers on Revision

“The first draft reveals the art, revision reveals the artist.” Michael Lee No one is immune to the discouragement that comes in the process of scaling the craggy, seemingly impossibly high mountain of revision. Just last night, after two weeks of gleefully gutting my manuscript I hit the sinkhole. The feeling that, even after all this revision, I still had so much more to do…was it even worth it? Should I gut the entire first act altogether? Should I rewrite the thing from scratch? Not my finest hour, I’ll tell you. But I woke up this morning with that same sense of possibility: Oh yeah, I get to rewrite this. I have the power to change whatever I want. It says … Read More

JordanIt Happens to the Toughest of Us

Revision Grief Redux: We’re in this Together

JordanBusiness of Writing, Craft, General, Writers on Revision

My facebook/twitter status this morning: gutted and slaughtered darlings everywhere. It’s carnage over here in novel revision land (said gleefully, like a serial killer!) I try to make clear to my clients and students  that I am a writer too. A working writer striving her hardest to get to the same place as they are: published. My hope is that this makes it a little bit easier when I tell them what has to go, what isn’t working, and what I think needs to happen next. Because we all know it’s far easier to be a critic than it is to produce material. Yes, I’ve published a bit already–two writing guides, one fairly big press, one fairly small, but I also … Read More

JordanRevision Grief Redux: We’re in this Together

7 Stages of Revision Grief

JordanCraft, Writers on Revision

If you’ve come away with anything this week with the help of our first two writers of the Writers on Revision series, I hope it’s this: writing is rewriting. That is to say, after the first ecstatic gush, the rush of the story and characters flying down onto paper willy-nilly, it’s time to do the laundry. And the sooner you willingly and joyfully embrace the task of revision, the quicker you will find yourself with complete drafts and that much closer to publication. But I want to acknowledge first the necessary and often painful process many of us have to go through around revision. I edit other people’s manuscripts for a living so I am constantly talking about revision. As … Read More

Jordan7 Stages of Revision Grief