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.