My muse Enid goes to visit her mother in New Hampshire for the holidays, but before she goes, Enid always leaves me one of her “love notes” to keep my writing on track while she’s off slurping egg nog and chomping chestnuts.
This year is by no means an exception. Now that I have a blog, I thought I’d share some of Enid’s holiday goodies with you.And so, without further fuss, here are my muse Enid’s Twelve Days of Revision:
Twas the night before deadline and all through the roost not a writer was sleeping, not even Proust.
(Sorry, that was the beginning to last year’s letter.)
Okay, off we go . . .
On the Twelve Days of Revision, my muse Enid said to me:
1. Snip-snip adverbs
2. Nix “very” and “really”–they really don’t add very much!
3. Keep tags simple (she implored with a heavy sigh)
4. Pinpoint POV for consistency
5. Pluck stuffy words–simple sings
6. Poo poo “start to”—just do the thing already!
7. Invigorate verbs
8. Specify specifics–no “thing” or “it”
9. Dice up long sentences
10. Juggle sentence structure
11. Extract “that”s–that’s about enough of that!
12. Read out loud (repeat)
After each round of revision, Enid recommends letting the manuscript “rest” for at least a few weeks so I can return to it with fresh eyes. (When she’s feeling cheeky, she says I should let the draft “ferment” a bit. What a sweetheart she is.) Snarky or sweet, Enid is right about writing. I can just hear her now–“I always am, my dear. I always am.”
Merry revisions to you all!
Following my muse has worked out pretty well so far. I can’t see any reason to change the formula now. ~ Chris Van Allsburg