Revise, Persevere, or Trash it?

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I started writing my first novel, several years ago. Since then, I’ve revised, cut, changed the timeline, and rethought some of the characters in my current work in progress (WIP).

Am I going about the process the right way? Perhaps and perhaps not, opinions differ.

Janice Hardy at Fiction University (a favorite of mine) has a thought-provoking post on this today, “OnwardNo? Write to the End or Go Back and Edit.” The reasons, she suggests, writers get into the revision and edit mode  include:

  • The first chapter isn’t where the story starts.
  • The story just isn’t working.
  • You’ve decided the story you’re writing, isn’t the real story.
  • The character you thought was the protagonist isn’t.
  • Or, you’ve studied the craft, learned a few techniques, and want to fix your mistakes.

As part panster and part planner, I’ve experienced all of the above. I do study the craft; I read and sometimes make revisions and edits. I hope my novel will be better for it.

At any rate and well past 30,000 words,  I’m too far to stop now. I plan to see this first draft to fruition.

Want more information on writing a novel, check out these resources:

Janice Hardy’s, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure

Larry Brooks, Story Engineering @

C.S. Larkin’s, The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction: Your Blueprint for Building a Strong Story

or James Scott Bell’s, Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story


Revision Exercise

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I borrowed the following exercise from Darcy Pattison’s  Fiction Notes and her recent article, Pacing: Space out the Tense Moments. 

As Ms. Pattison found when having her students perform this exercise, openings of their WIP, often had little to do with the rest of the story. However, somewhere between the third and  eighth revision, they nailed it.

If you’re struggling with the opening and pacing of your current WIP, try this exercise.

Revision exercise… write eight different openings for your essay/story. Then, start writing the essay/story again from that starting point.

Happy revising and let me hear from you.