Tuesday, October 09, 2007

leave it hanging: more revision(ist) strategies

By the time I leave for work this afternoon the carousel story will be cut and hanging on my walls. More like an art exhibit that a written piece. This is the best strategy I learned in school, but you should only do it when a piece is almost there.

Cut the story up at its transition points. When do you flash forward or go into backstory, when do you jump space or time? Tape your components together. Hang them up sequentially. You'll see then how you have a three page backstory in the middle of a fiften page story, or how the information you know needs to be at the beginning of the story is buried on page 6. You'll find the holes. You will understand what's missing, what you have failed to say, how you have tried to address the problem with the father in three places, but are they all necessary?

At the end of a story, fiction is a ruthless enterprise. What deserves to stay on the page?

Who controls the content? Why do we trust that the frame will hold?

2 comments:

Marusya said...

I love the cutting up strategy, makes me want to chop my novel up and put ir back together again in a different way.

Busy all the time. said...

Last night I stated up late reading Comfort Food (almost done, just saving a bit to relish tonight)...I love how cutting up the piece forces me to look at its seams and fissures.