Tuesday, June 1, 2010

revision--chapter summaries

In my last manuscript, Alien Invasion & Other Inconviences, I struggled with several plot points. My editor did something I’d only tried once. That time it hadn’t really worked for me. This time it helped a lot.

She did an outline of each chapter of the novel (there are about fifty so this was no small thing). It wasn’t a detailed outline. She just wrote a few sentences explaining what each chapter was about, the major points. (It really needs to just be about two or three sentences for each chapter, I think, so you can keep it focused.)

The chapter summaries helped me see structural problems in a way I couldn’t see them before. I realized I needed to do some rearranging, which meant being open to moving chapters around. I think this chapter by chapter summary can be very useful for the big picture revision that every writer should face at some point (a good time might be after letting the manuscript sit for a while to get a little distance). Anyway, it was really helpful to me to do a rewrite just focusing on story points and using the summaries as helpful signs to guide me. It became easier to cut whole chapters or move them and I did both. It was hard but I think it made the manuscript better.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

i am in waiting for your next summary of the novel please post soon

chapter book summaries