Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 16, 2008

Revising Plot: Space and Silence

I like to peer in and fiddle with the tiny parts of my writing. I can fix the same sentence over and over. I can make small shifts within paragraphs in stolen moments, or edit before or between appointments.

But moving from one major point of a book to another, seeing the big picture, making sure there’s enough action and blocks to it: these are not my strong points, and it’s plot that most baffles me when I revise. For something as massive as planning out a structure, I want a lot of space and silence. I need to keep away from the early drafts so I don’t follow the old lines and just patch things up. I need to make maps with major mistakes and detours in order to find new directions.

Yes, the blank page is scary, but with a little work, hey, it isn’t blank anymore! Within the past few days, I’ve started from nothing and composed a bunch of new words to play with and keep me company. I feel a kind of lightness when starting fresh. I don’t have the heaviness of a pile of old notes to wade through and assess. We have to sometimes be the well rather than just worry about filling it. So I’m heading back to some silence for most of the day.



  1. Enjoy your creative silence. I hope it’s productive. 🙂

  2. You sound a lot like me I don’t think the big picture is my strength either. And I do think when major changes have to be made, sometimes it just doesn’t work to use what you have. So good for you for doing what needs to be done. 🙂

  3. I’m thinking it is? Then again, I could be in that happy deluded stage (which I assume is on your list for why have critique groups: smack those writers with reality, when they’re ready! Otherwise, we’d be really really embarrassed).

  4. Thanks, Lisa. I hope this is what needs to be done! I guess we’re all working in the dark a lot of the time. Anyway, I know I am!

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