Kay: Revising by Bullet Points

bAs I’ve talked about here for what seems like the last 5,000 years, I’m revising my WIP. I’m making pretty good progress, too. My methodology is simple: as I wrote the first draft, I put bullet points into my outline to highlight problems I discovered, things I should check, issues I wanted to be sure I added. These bullet points were both major and minor (“write new ending,” “is the midpoint emotional enough,” and “make sure hero asks for the favor on p. 42”). At its longest, my bullet point list was about a page and a third of items to investigate and resolve.

Now that I’m revising, I check to see that I’m satisfied with the language—the word choices and the sentence flow. And I also look against my bullet list and delete the bullets as I resolve the issues. All the bullet points but two are deleted now, and I’m about halfway through the first edit pass.

So today when I got Chuck Wendig’s post in my mailbox, I was pleased to read his “stupid writer tricks.” In the Chuck Wendig world of work, stupid writer tricks are best practices for keeping your manuscript on track. I found them a refreshing refresher, so to speak, as I revise. One of his bullet points: Does my character have agency? Another: Why will this book engage others? Another: Be on a quest to tighten. And of course, the best one: After today’s writing, ask: where are my pants?

All his bullet points are spot on. You can read his list of stupid writer tricks on his web site.


6 thoughts on “Kay: Revising by Bullet Points

  1. LOL, good god. That’s everything in a nutshell, isn’t it? Although, I don’t usually lose my pants while writing. (Do you think, perhaps, it would help?)

    All must be taken with a grain of salt though. I’m deep in the “why the hell would anyone give a fuck?” stage, and “fixing that shit” is easily said. Not easily done. But, do-able. rah-rah me.

    I’ve got a bunch of holidays coming up, and I need to schedule some writing first thing in the morning. It’ll be a luxury! Write, have a monster breakfast, and then I can tackle all the little crappy things that pile up around the house.

  2. I know your books engage readers, so I’m not even going to comment on that. What I noticed: you’ve got a bullet list right there!

    *Have a monster breakfast
    *Tackle the crappy little things that pile up around the house

    And you’ve got your priorities straight—the writing comes first. Maybe after that we should add another bullet point:

    *Search for pants

    Because I think maybe losing one’s pants *might* help.

      • LOL, you ever get in that desperate, “nothing is coming out!” mode? That’s when writing “skyclad” starts to sound like a good idea. And sacrificing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to the Gods of Writing. (Which is not a bad idea at all — at least the family will be fed.)

        Huh. I wonder if it’d be tax deductible?

        LOL. OK, onward, upward, back to the beginning, and through to the end.

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