Tuesday, February 16, 2010

K.I.S.S. & Tell

Revision is an interesting process. I've discovered that when it comes to the PLOT revision, reading a craft book alongside the writing work helps me to generate new ideas and fix my MS's holes. Sometimes I take a course online during this time. Sometimes I just read and learn.

While revising, I am always on the phone or pinging emails to my CPs. They are all working on their WIPs and going through the same process. All of our voices bring new thoughts and solutions to the table. All of us find different ways to get to the heart of the matter.

So where is the KISS?

Well, for me it's in the phrase: KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY. The  more I learn, the more I realize that writing does boil down to basics. There are some amazing methods to approach writing, but they all derive from similar roots. I can call a plot point a twist point, a pivotal plot point, a false victory, a turning point... a whatever... But bottom line: the idea is the same. I have to have sections in my book that bring about changes internally and externally to my main characters and all of these changes must deepen the sympathy my future readers have for my characters.

Goals? Motivations? Conflicts? Internal and external? They all come from some deep well within ourselves. If we don't mine our own hearts and experiences, we aren't bringing an honest revelation to the table, either. At times it takes some wonderful teacher to lead us to that discovery. Other times, it's an aha moment within our own brains that crystalizes the soul baring drive to write the story. Is our theme throughout our writing about betrayal, hope, lost souls finding home, overcoming injustice, saving people, truth and justice overcoming dishonesty? What? When we discover this, we are on a roll.

Sounds simple doesn't it?

But that's the part that's hard to tell. When does the writing shift from complex to simple? When does the book take on an amazing life of its own where the characters are really telling ME how to write their story? I think it happens all along as long as I don't force the issue. As soon as I try to fake it, I lose it.

I lose the essence of my people. I lose the essence of their story.

Revision opens up new pathways, new directions, new goals. Revision brings along interesting developments, unexpected characters and evocative emotions. Now the questions is: are you ready to expose them to the light?

12 comments:

M.V.Freeman said...

Oh yes, I want to expose some things to light...its how I do it, and when I do it that's the problem.

I like what you said about plot points, pivotal points, etc..basically it is what changes the characters. Now that I can grasp...Oh, yeah, and the cold meds. Hmm.

I think I need to print this particular post out...it says good things..

Christine said...

Awe, thanks Mary. You are going strong. Hmmm cold meds help? I might have to try some ;-)

KarenG said...

I've been studying story structure with my current wip, not usually the way I write, but I'm learning lots by using this different process. With my last novel, I wrote tons and then adjusted for structure. This time, I'm getting the structure first and then adding to it.

Wendy Marcus said...

Hi, Christine!
Thanks for the welcome to WritingGIAMx4. I look forward to chatting with you.

Re: Your post. I also turn to books on characterization and plot/structure when I hit a snag in my writing. It really helps.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Good thoughts for those of us deep in the revision process!

Christine said...

Hi KarenG: I have been following your blog for the tips regarding structure. I do like a framework for my writing. It really helps when I get stuck. Right now I have the Scrivener program so it helps me keep things in order in a very visual way.

Christine said...

Hi Wendy: Glad to see you on GIAMx4. It's an awesome group. Don't know where I'd be without lots of accountability especially during busy times (like DH's hip replacement).

Can you share your books re: characterization with me? I have found tons on plot, scenes, structure, GMC and so forth, but only a few about Characterization.

Christine said...

Gwen: I hear you--revision is a two step dance with a slide to the right and and a lunge to the left. Sometimes I think I just shift words within the doc for psychological reasons--can't bear to cut them till I have more written LOL.

Wendy Marcus said...

I use Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress, Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress, and Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D...to name a few.

Christine said...

Wendy: thanks! I am writing these down and looking for them on Amazon. I have Heroes and Heroines: the 8 archetypes for each sex and it's also very good. I can't remember the actual title, but if you zip me a direct email, I can send you it--I wander around the house a lot and right now too lazy to get up and find it in my office LOL.

Al said...

Hey that is the most polite version of KISS I have seen.
KISS is a great principle when it comes to revision. I cut whole sub-plots and some great characters as I revised. I missed them, but I have a better story because of it.

Al

Publish or Perish

Christine said...

Hi Al: That's so true. As I cut out the stuff, I keep telling myself it is to make room for the real story. And because I have Scrivener, I can shovel all the old stuff into a folder called cut scenes and count the cuts words. I can easily slip into the folder to mine it for snippets here and there. Nothing we write is wasted. It's just part of the process.

And I did keep K.I.S.S. Polite--tho' I do know all the raunchier versions LOL.

Thanks for dropping in and commenting!