Revision is like solving a puzzle. You've drafted the story, created the characters, woven the plot, tried to use vivid descriptions, tried to show not tell, and done a fairly decent job of dumping out what was in your brain. Maybe. Then you have to step back and try to make sense of the picture. It's just not all right. You analyze the pieces, shift some around, add more, take some out, turn others around, or flip them over. You always need to have other people look at it too, and help you figure out where the image is skeewompus. You keep working, and working, and working.
Revision has been my work for the last while. With 4 manuscripts - good stories all - and rejections now coming personalized, and often after several looks, I know I'm to the place where I am SO CLOSE! But the puzzle just isn't quite right enough. Yet.
I've written before about using Martha Alderson's Plot Whisperer to help with revision. I recently took another look at her four energetic markers: 1) The End of the Beginning 2) The Recommitment Scene 3) The Crisis 4) The Climax. I could readily identify each of these energetic markers in my story. My MC follows these nicely in his arc. But I had a bit of a shift in thinking. What about my plot threads? How do the other characters follow the markers? Do all the side things fit too?
So I took each of the main threads of the story, and drew them out on paper, aligned with the energetic markers of the story. This was a great exercise for me to see how each element interacted with the others along the line. I found some mistakes! I found some places where one character was reaching markers before they should be, or ideas were jumping out of sequence. I found threads not aligned as neatly as I wanted. So I grabbed those puzzle pieces and did some shifting, and adding, and creating new.
I'm happy to report that my puzzle image is looking clearer than it ever has. I'm meeting with my wonderful Writers Group tonight to see what they think of the new and improved product. Aligning the energy of my story with all the parts was the key. And now, we'll see how close the puzzle is to being complete.
Writing for children is a passion - along with reading kid's books, writing plays for kids, and teaching kids how to write!