July’s Third Thursday Wrap-Up: The Agony of Delete! Tips and Coping Strategies for Revising Your Draft

photoAfter a month off for the annual WLT Agents and Editors Conference, the Third Thursday program was back in full swing with panelists Samantha Clark, Bethany Hegedus, E. Kristin Anderson, and Sara Kocek with guest moderator Bradley P. Wilson. (He not only moderated, he reflected about the evening over on his blog,)

As usual, the Third Thursday  recap only scratches the surface of the knowledge and expertise shared. This month is a rapid-fire recap of the tip and tools from our authors.

On your mark. Get set. Go!

Tips and Coping Strategies for Revising Your Draft

  • Recognize and honor your unique writing and revising style.
  • Are you a plower or diamond polisher? Do you plow through your draft or polish it as you go.
  • Are you an outliner or not? Maybe both, depending on the situation.
  • Get feedback from other readers and other writers. Readers and writers can offer different kinds of feedback.
  • Scrivener, word processor on steroids – and then some, was recommended.
  • Carry a notebook for your current book and record ideas on characters, plot, etc.
  • Picture your character. Find a photo that could be your character. It may inspire your writing
  • Write on a treadmill. Walking & writing can help your brain and your body. (Read more about treadmill desks.)
  • Use Pintrest to build boards around your characters, settings, themes, etc.
  • Research tip – avoid the Google abyss by stopping your search after finding the one factoid you’re looking for.
  • Let your draft rest, then come back to it with fresh eyes.
  • Q: How do you know you’re done?  A: “When you’re sick of it.” “You’re never done. You just have to stop.” “When you keep changing and unchanging the same thing.”
  • Take your time on revision requests from editors or agents. Don’t sacrifice quality for quickness.
  • Remember it’s ultimately your story.  Consider the feedback from others, but retain ownership of your work.
  • Follow editor or agency guidelines for formatting.
  • Don’t double-space manually. Write in single-space mode (usually the default),  then highlight the entire text and format it with double-spacing. Use the help in your word processing program if needed.
  • Use one space after periods, not two. (Using two spaces after a period is used for typewriters, not computers.)
  • Use a professional, non-family email for professional correspondence. Save your UnicornGirl@gmail address for your friends and family.
  • Suggested fonts are Times New Roman and Courier. Display your style in your writing, not your fonts. If you want to write your draft in a font that inspires you, go for it. Just remember to change it before submitting your work to an agent or editor.
  • When you are ready to consider hiring an editor check out Yellow Bird Editors, the editing home of all of our panelists and our moderator.

These tips can lessen the agony of delete and move your towards the thrill of publishing victory. (Anyone remember the ABC Wide World of Sports opening?)

If you’re in the Austin area, join us at August’s Third Thursday. If you can’t make it, we’ll see you next month on the blog.

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WLT and The Texas Book Festival

Thanks to everyone who stopped at our booth this weekend during the Texas Book Festival! For all those new faces, it was a pleasure getting to meet you, and for all of our members and friends who came by, it was great seeing you again!

This weekend was a huge success, especially for our author members who signed books at the booth and for our two staff members, Cyndi Hughes and Bethany Hegedus, both of whom participated in some panels! The Bookish Brunch also was a hit! Authors H.W. Brands, S.C. Gwynne, Bethany Hegedus, James McGrath Morris, and René Saldaña, Jr. were wonderfully entertaining and the food provided by Frances Townsend, Ted Gilman, and Kerbey Lane Cafe was delicious. Many thanks to BookPeople for selling books at the event as well.

As promised, here are the best of the writing prompts that we featured at our booth this weekend.

  • She passed over a crumpled page that said, “That’s the beginning of the end of my career as a writer.” – Tom Dalton
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I pondered whether to tell him his fly was down. – Jeanna
  • She passed over a crumpled page that said, “Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.” She laughed.  – Caitlin Kinkade
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I was suddenly aware of my sweaty palms; there was an awkward and tense silence that hung in the air like a blade above a guillotine. – Amellia
  • The craft landed in front of me and Larry, the eerie blue glow of its underside illuminated his face where I saw trepidation and excitement at what awaited us.
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I watched as he began to sweat bullets. He realized I knew who he was and what he’d done.
  • I was aware all along of the menace looming behind me, waiting for me, yet I continued onward out of the cave and toward the daylight, determined and sweat soaked. – Caitlin Conran
  • He stood quietly, as if waiting, and I said, “Last year your mother lost her underwear while we were crossing the Fort Sam Quadrangle, and if you think I’m taking her to another Veteran’s Day parade, you’re crazy.” – Kathy Waller
  • I was aware all along of how unaware I was. – Kari Rosenfeld
  • I was aware all along of the passing absurdity of writing prompts. – Ken Jones

–Ashley