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Posts tagged ‘writing and revising’

Try this revision tip: Cut up your manuscript

After you’ve spent months and even years working on a manuscript, it can be hard to see the trees for the forest or the forest for the trees, to use a woodsy, Pacific Northwest kind of saying.

That’s when I go back to a practice I learned from one of my MFA writing advisors. In one of our group meetings, we all cut up pages of our manuscript into strips and rearranged the paragraphs and sentences to see if our stories flowed better.

Genius artist Michelangelo once said about his work: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

I’m currently working on another round of memoir revisions. No matter how long it’s been since I’ve worked on it, I always feel too close to it to be as objective as I’d like. Something about physically cutting strips of sentences and paragraphs and moving them around gives me a new perspective. It also feels different from just reading the printed pages and making notes, although that’s part of revision strategy. Read my last blog post, Critique your manuscript with this checklist, to learn more.

Here’s one way to go about cutting up your manuscript:

1. Save your manuscript as a separate document. This is so that you can revert back or can refer back to the original to compare how it all flows. Read more

What you can learn from author Dan Pink and Bob the Builder

Besides being able to write and revise stories, writers need to be skilled in the art of selling. Especially nowadays, when writers are called on more than ever to sell themselves and their books. So when I heard that Dan Pink had written a book about selling called To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, I bought it.

Along with the insight about selling, I came across some advice that applies to writing.

Pink says that when facing challenges, like making cold calls and pitching prospects, some self-help gurus might advise you pump yourself up with statements such as, “I’m the best salesperson on the planet,” and “No one is as awesome as me.”

While you must believe in your product or service and your ability to sell it, Pink says that social science reveals something more nuanced about how we talk to ourselves and its impact. Read more