Sunday, February 12, 2012

Editing with Brian Henry

Yesterday, I joined seventeen other writers for an Editing workshop with Brian Henry at a local church here in Guelph. In the past, I have driven to Kitchener, Woodstock, Oakville, Mississauga and Burlington to hear Brian talk about the writing journey. I was thankful that I didn't have to drive too far yesterday.

I am now ready to edit and revise my manuscript and found the workshop extremely helpful.  I was also able to get some one-on-one time with Brian. He gave me some excellent tips on how to improve the first 1000 words--critical words that can make or break a manuscript. I have been told that many agents stop reading after the first page.

Brian has a good sense of humour and I often jot down his quips along with his practical suggestions...
  • If you revise the same page too many times,you are probably ignoring a major problem in your book.
  • The first step of revision involves adding and expanding, giving the manuscript its fullness and making the voice more distinctive.
  • Paring down is the last step.
  • We all have a tendency to fall in love with our writing. To make it better we must fall out of love with it.
  • When the characters start misbehaving, do not get rid of them. Go with the flow and make the appropriate changes.
  • Write with passion, revise at leisure.
  • Or...Puke it out, mop it up.
  • "Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft." (Anne Lamont) It is easier to work with a crappy first draft than a blank page.
  • If the manuscript doesn't work, put it aside for a year.
  • Working with only professional editors is limiting. Find more readers.
  • Zen of revising--read like a reader. That is, read like you have never seen it before.
  • With a strong voice, you can make almost anything work.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I wanted to go to this workshop! Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I really like this reminder: "read like you have never seen it before."
    How great to have received feedback from Brian!