Category Archives: Revising + Editing

It has to be as perfect as you can make it, while not giving up your voice, the bones of the story, and your mind. :-)

IWSG 104: Adding Some Favorite Things


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Joylene Nowell Butler | Ronel Janse van Vuuren | Meka James | Diane Burton | Victoria Marie Lees | M Louise Barbour


When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

All kinds of things: how-to-write manuals, books I read, movies and tv shows I watch, and the occasional webinar.

for example

Reverse Outline

A while back, I discovered the Reverse Outline, and it saved my story. I hit a wall. No surprise there, and my solution turned out to be a simple one. Everyone knows when revising, we go through and chop away the stuff that doesn’t fit the story and fill in the rest of the story with what’s missing.

I had done my traditional campfire story–my take on the outline–then I went off target and loved where it was going. So I strayed further and further away and basically got lost.

In the Reverse Outline method, the first thing you do is logline each chapter (I used excel to track my plot and subplots) until what I’d written petered out. Then I looked at where I wanted the story to end, and back filled from there. During the presentation, she also suggested this was the best time to add tweaks and surprises.

It got me back on track. I’m so grateful to Masha du Toit for helping me save my work.

Id List

Angela M. Sanders pointed out the Id List during a recent presentation.

Simply make a list of all your favorite things. What makes the quality of your life that much better? Things like walks in the park, playing with puppies, feeding a bunch of sugar to your grandchildren then dropping them off with mom and dad, skinny dipping, rodeos, ribbons, good food, grass between your toes, singing at the top of your lungs, etc.

Then sprinkle some of the best of the best into your work. She suggested it added a deeper dimension to the story and made it more relatable.

Now your question

What is one of your most favorite things to do?

Bringing New Life to an Old Story

Don’t lose hope if brainstorming isn’t working, try visiting your old works, like you do when blogging.

birds-1798765_1280bBecause not all stories are meant to be written the moment they pop up their little heads, I file those beauties—old outlines, writing ideas and abandoned WIPS—away for my future self.

Diving into these files can be an education. I’m always surprised by my work. Before I learned most of the rules, I had freedom that I wouldn’t mind having again.

Remember to be kind to yourself. We learn more about the craft each day and when we do, our outlook changes with it. The root or core of your original story may be awesome, but the execution felt off, couldn’t face the brutally honest critique, or the work of putting it all together was overwhelming.

If you find what you’re looking for,  you may have to cut it down the bone. Here’s edward-lear-1823638_1280what I do. First, I rip it into manageable pieces and rearrange the bits. Some chunks land back in the file folder and others make holes I filled in. I’m sure you know the rest.

If revisiting your work doesn’t help, sometimes reading sparks new ideas. Things that help me are: how-to writing manuals, old diaries—mostly my own, checking old letters or emails and finally old family photos.

Have you ever done this? What works best for you?


Gleaned from:

Submitting Without Fear

Rejection is subjective.

Rejection is part of the craft of writing.

Rejection hurts.

I’ve lost two contests and I’m going for my third.

My question is, how do I submit as if I haven’t been rejected? How do I write my best work without being afraid I’ll fail again?

sk-on-writingThe answer for me was going back to the beginning. To refresh my memory of why I am here and why I am doing such a silly thing like submitting at all.

The first book I read was Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Here’s a quote:

“The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story … to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all. The single-sentence paragraph more closely resembles talk than writing, and that’s good. Writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction. If not so, why do so many couples who start the evening at dinner wind up in bed?”

I’ve not thought of myself as a seductress for a while now. But I’ve heard it’s like riding a bike. This round I think I’ll use my purple pen to polish my entry.

Wish me luck. I hope you beta readers are ready. I’m days away from sending it out.

Readers: What do you do when you need to find your writing magic?

My Contest Entry Needs Beta Readers

xmas treeLast week I wrote about my fear of success and after reading the comments I thought long and hard about what I wanted out of my writing life.

Since I started writing I’ve joined writing groups, critiqued others work, beta read, and even had some pieces published. It’s been social, fun and a huge learning experience. I think I’m doing okay, but I suppose I could always do better.

Then a contest opportunity comes up and my first response was no way. What happens if I win?

Silly me. It’s the first place I go when I face something like this. I bounce between the possibilities.

I’m okay with doing my very best when entering a contest and crossing my fingers until the results are released. I’m okay with not winning because the act of writing makes me better storyteller.

On the other hand, what if I do win. In this case I would be mentored by an author I’ve have fanned over long before I considered offering my work up for publishing. I’ve read his work and love it to bits. This would be a dream come true.

So what’s stopping me?


Last night I decided to go for it. I’m not going to think about the consequences of my actions. No do or do not. No try. I’m just going to put my best work out there and see what happens.

Why am I blogging about it?

I’m calling for beta readers—again. If you have the time and are willing, please let me know. I’ll need you for three piece of work: a hook (max 100 words), an example chapter (max 1000 words), and a detailed outline.

This my friends could be a life changer and to succeed I’ll need your help.

Before I Push Send On My SiWC16 Contest Submission

There is that moment in every writer’s life when they need to submit their work. That day is coming up fast for me. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve submitted before or that I know what to do. I strive to make my work sparkle and still it might not win the SWiC16 Writing

The fact is, there are millions of awesome writers in the world today. With that in mind, I put my feet solidly on the ground and acknowledge the seed of doubt tromping around in the back of my mind.

To ease my doubt

Like with all my serious submissions, I lined up a handful beta readers and Yay! they did an awesome job: Pointed out the good, Got me taking a harder look at the areas I needed to improve, Asked all the right questions, And caught all my silly typos.

What most agreed on was my too-blunt ending. It left readers shocked, unsatisfied, and hanging with no place to go. Not good at all.

Act on feedback

I take all my feedback seriously. As the one to bring all these great minds together, I’d better sit up and pay attention when they tell me the truth about my social-1206614_1280work.

I wouldn’t have shared if I didn’t trust them. I wouldn’t have shared if I thought all they were going to do was rave. I shared for one simple reason to have some honest souls find the weak spots and point them out.

Back to submitting

I’ve done everything I can do to get ready including rewriting my ending. One last read and I’ll be hitting send on this most precious email.

What do you think

Anything specific you ask yourself before hitting send? This writer would love to hear about it before it’s too late. 😉