The Ripple Effect


It’s been a while since I started a blog chain and what more appropriate post than this one about the ripple effect to start one. I’m kicking off this chain with the following question:

Has your manuscript (WIP or completed) experienced a ripple effect, where one change affected the manuscript from beginning to end? If so, how?

The premise behind the blog chain idea is for you to write this question at the top of a post, link it back to the person whose blog you read it on, answer the question, and invite others (consider this your formal invitation) to participate. Last, post a link to participant(s) who link back to your blog to complete the chain.

Photo Credit: jeuxsansfrontieres

The other day during my critique group, we discussed how making changes to a story can have ripple effects. Sometimes, those ripples are small. For example, during one of many revisions to my YA dark paranormal EDGE OF TRUTH, where I’ve created a futuristic, dystopian world I realized my characters spent a lot of time outside without eye protection from their too bright sun. Everyone running around with sunglasses was too Agent Smith from the Matrix so instead, I added something more durable and literally flexible: sun hats. OMG, Rena’s (the MC) love interest Nevan looks so hot in a his hat.

As I moved through the manuscript finding scenes where hats were needed, I discovered how much something so simple enriched the world building. It gave my characters something to hide their face behind when embarrassed or angry, it gave them something to hold for comfort, it gave them something to wring in worry. Plus, something so normal helped make them feel real.

I’ve had stronger ripples as well, especially when I brought in a new character who I had to seamlessly work throughout the entire manuscript.

The movie Butterfly Effect is an extreme example of how one change can affect the future.

I’m interested in hearing whether you’ve experienced the ripple effect in your work and if so, how? If you decide to participate in this blog chain, please let me know so I can include a link. If you just want to leave your comments below, that works for me, too. Note: There’s no timeline on this, so link whenever you want.

Please visit these blogger(s) too to see how they answered the question:

∞ Dawn Allen at Write On
Consider yourself linked:

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Committing to Manuscript Improvement


(Source)Recently, Rach Writes posted a quote from a post written by Mary Kole titled Big Revision on Kidlit.com. One line (two, for those of you who want to get technical) in particular, clarified the difference between sort of being committed to revising a manuscript and complete commitment to manuscript improvement.

“Let me say it here once and for all: unless you make big changes, a revision isn’t worth doing. If you go out on a submission round and get roundly rejected, you’re not going to solve your problem by going back to the page to tweak a few words here and there.” – Mary Kole

During the first rounds of the editing process, writers:

  • fix typos
  • correct grammar errors
  • correct punctuation errors
  • ensure characters are believable and consistent from beginning to end
  • double-check for plot holes
  • make sure readers are well-oriented with the setting
  • include the senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch [and where applicable sixth sense]) into each scene
  • etc.

This process yields a polished manuscript ready to submit to agents, editors, or publishers depending on the authors career goals. Sometimes, even after the daunting task of revisions, fundamental changes to the manuscript are necessary.

This is where Mary Kole’s advice comes into play. It takes total commitment to improve a manuscript. Writers have to be willing to let go of carefully selected words, beautiful prose, even entire pages for the good of the manuscript. When something in the story isn’t working, we can’t just change a few words in hopes of making it better. We must put in the effort and do the hard word to fix it, even if that means throughout portions of the story and starting fresh.

This week, DearEditor.com is hosting a Revision Week where eight prolific, bestselling, award-winning authors give insight to their revision process. One of my favorite questions the Editor asks is about the most drastic thing an authors have done. Some major thinking outside of the box. I’ve learned much through their interviews.

Has your work ever needed major revisions? Care to summarize why and how you fixed it? How do you know when to put down the proverbial red pen?