North Little Rock, AR (PRWEB) December 9, 2008
According to the National Novel Writing Month organization,1.6 billion words of fiction were written in the single month of November, 2008, and 21,683 writers completed at least 50,000 words. Writing teacher Darcy Pattison (http://www.darcypattison.com) says, "After a heroic outpouring of words in a first draft, weary writers stop and say, 'I have a first draft, now what?' The answer, of course, is to revise."
Revision is not the advice most writers want: novel revision is a daunting, scary task if you've never done it before. You might as well toss the 50,000 words into a blender and see what comes out. Writers usually know the story plot or story characters need work, but have no idea where to start.
"In 1999, I developed the Novel Revision Retreat, which I now teach nationwide," says Darcy Pattison. "I've taken the guess work out of revision." Her goal is to provide simple writing techniques for issues such as story plot, characterization, and language. Instead of genius, she firmly believes you only need tools such as the shrunken manuscript technique or the spreadsheet plotting technique (http://darcypattison.com/revision/shrunken-manuscript-v-spreadsheet-plotting/). The Shrunken Manuscript takes advantage of word-processor's ability to change font sizes, thus shrinking a novel into less than 30 pages, so it can be visually manipulated and evaluated. Spreadsheet Plotting uses the columns of spreadsheet software to note key characteristics of each chapter so they can be easily tracked.
Using these and similar hands-on writing techniques, Darcy Pattison's advice is to write the second draft in a single month, too. Her complimentary e-book, "After the First Draft: 30 Fast, Easy Writing Tips for the Second Draft" (http://www.darcypattison.com/AfterTheFirstDraft.html) is formatted to encourage writers to tackle a single issue each day. By the end of the month, writers will have addressed thirty issues and strengthened their story.
Most publishable novels need four or five major revisions, some many more. By knocking out a first draft in one month and a second draft in another month, the writer has accomplished much of the hard work. The next several revisions will likely be slower, but with this solid foundation, the story has a better chance of success.
About the Author: Published in eight languages, Darcy Pattison (http://www.darcypattison.com/about) is a professional writer. As a writing teacher, Darcy Pattison is in demand nationwide to teach her Novel Revision Retreat. Her books about writing or teaching writing include Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise (Mims House) and Paper Lightning: Prewriting Activities to Spark Creativity (Cottonwood Press). Darcy Pattison is the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor's Arts Awards, Individual Artist Award for her work in literature. She writes regularly about writing at the Revision Notes blog.