I don’t use outlines when I write. I just get an idea, let it cook in my head for a while, and then start writing. I then take a bit of a break before moving on to my next writing project. After I have given myself some distance from the story, I go back and read through the entire work in one sitting, This helps me catch any continuity errors or problems in the plot.
I have done that so far with everything that I have written. I was happy with my work and thought that it might be worth publishing. I had planned on shopping around for an agent and a publisher last summer. But then I came across this excellent blog.
Natahn Bransford is a literary agent and his blog should be required reading for any aspiring writer. I read all of the articles he highlighted in the side bar and have been a regular reader ever since. Last summer, I decided to follow some of the advice I found on his site. I can’t remember what post it was from but I do remember the main point of it. He basically said, if you think your work is ready, go back and revise it again.
My cousin read my young adult novel and marked it all up like she was a university professor. I really appreciate all the work she did and I followed almost all of her suggestions. But I must say, it was hard to do.
I had to add a few scenes to help with the overall flow of the story. I didn’t want to add much though because the book was a decent size for 8-12 year-olds. I struggled over how to fill in the holes that were still apparent. I had edited it myself previously and was surprised that there was still so much that could be done to improve it.
I had a hard time getting back into the mindset of rewriting this story. It was almost harder adding those three scenes into the novel than it was to write the entire book. I had to be succinct and place them in the right place. I was thinking too hard and not enjoying the writing.
It took me a couple of days of thinking and cooking but I managed to get back to the mind state. I had a few days there where I didn’t accomplish anything. I felt like it was impossible. But then it just came to me. I started writing and put the new scenes in.
It feels good to be done. I know the book is 100 times better than it was.
So I’m going to let my cousin read it again. She actually wanted to. I hope she likes what I’ve done with it. If not, I might need to do this again.