Monday, October 28, 2013

The Revision Roadblock

I love revising. Call me a weirdo, but there’s something about picking apart my manuscript that makes me all giddy. But no matter how excited I am to rip that MS to shreds, I always hit a blockage at some point in the process. It happens to everyone, right? (RIGHT?!)
So, I’m here to give you guys four tips that got me through my recent revision roadblock.

1) Reacquaint yourself with your characters.
I can't take all the credit for this one. My first CP introduced me to a process known as The Snowflake Method. This is where I discovered the beauty of outlining not just the story itself, but its characters. I'll take a blank page, title it with my character's name, and write out every. little. thing I know about him/her.

Another way to go about this is a character interview. Ask your character questions. "What would you do if ___? How do you feel about ___?" Gaining insight into your character's psyche can help tons.


2) Remember what you want your character to achieve. 
Your characters need to grow.By the end of your story, your characters should have lived and learned, or else, what’s the point? This can go hand-in-hand with Step 1.

On that same sheet of paper (or a new one. Whatever floats your boat.), label three sections Beginning, Middle, and End. Then, describe your character at each point of your story. If your character hasn't changed at all by the end (for better OR worse), then you may need to reevaluate a few things.

Still not busting through that block? How about:

3) Reading.
   I know, I know. THERE’S NO TIME. Make time. I keep a few of my favorite books at my desk for quick grabbing. Certain books spark my creativity more than others (John Green is an absolute favorite for this). Reading just a few pages can get me back into the game.

When all else fails:

4 - When in doubt, write it out.
    Repeat this over, and over, and over until you're saying it in your sleep. I know how it is. The idea is in your head. It's right there for the taking, but you just can’t figure out how to express that kernel of genius. Here's what you do: open a blank doc (or grab a notebook, if you’re like me), and produce what I lovingly refer to as word vomit. Spill your guts all over that page. You may toss all of it later, or you may find a little sentence, or phrase, or even one word that gets your brain into gear. You have no idea what’s crap unless you write it first.

Drafting gets the words out. Revising turns the story into what you dreamed it would be.

Do you have any tips/tricks for pushing through that revision blockage? Let us know!


  1. Thanks for sharing these great tips! I hadn't heard of the Snowflake Method. I clicked on the link and wow-- I'm going to get a fresh cup of coffee and sit and read!!

    Awesome idea to keep those inspirational books close at hand, too. Reading is such a great motivator! :-)

  2. These are awesome tips! I'm revising right now so this post is perfect timing!!! THANK YOU! :)

  3. I LOVE these suggestions and am looking forward to applying them. :) Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Thanks Michelle! I love tip #2. Often when I get stuck it's because I've lost sight of my character's goals, and reassessing them usually gets me back on track. Great post!