Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal
Our eighth and final M.I.C.E. Quotient discussion will explore using M.I.C.E. as a diagnostic tool. So… your manuscript is done, but something isn’t working. How do you figure out where the problem is? If the ending isn’t satisfying, M.I.C.E. can tell you whether the ending itself is actually at fault, and in this episode we’ll show you how.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:49 — 13.2MB)
Finally, you can let go of that fairy-tale rewrite. It’s time to apply these M.I.C.E. Quotient tools to something else you’ve written. Easy homework! Just, y’know… go fix your manuscript.
Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, and Mary Robinette, with special guest Patrick Rothfuss
We begin our discussion of revision by addressing a question we hear a lot: How do you know what needs to be changed? We talk about our various techniques for getting distance from our work, incorporating feedback, and breaking the process down into manageable chunks.
Liner Notes: Lindsey Ellis on Three-Act Structure
Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 29:04 — 20.7MB)
Identify your chapter and scene purposes, and apply the 10% solution during a revision pass.
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley
Revision: it’s when you make a too-short piece longer, or a too-long piece shorter. (It’s also a great many other things, suggesting that this description is a too-short piece in need of revision.)
Credits: This episode was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Twiss, and mastered deep beneath [REDACTED] by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:46 — 13.6MB)
Identify the key concepts in a scene you need to shorten. Your budget is one sentence per concept. Rewrite the scene using exactly that many sentences.
“Plea,” by Mary Anne Mohanraj
And now for your questions about revision. Or rather, questions from the WXR attendees, who were aboard the Independence of the Seas with us (the answers to these questions are secreted away in the audio file…):
- During revision, when do you think it’s acceptable to throw the whole thing out?
- How do you fit the whole structure in your head?
- What do you find you most often need to add?
- What do you do when your revisions have made things worse?
- How do you avoid over-writing during the revision process?
- When revising, how many passes do you make, and what order are they in?
- Do you take the sounds of words into account when writing and revising?
This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered in a concrete bunker somewhere in the midwest by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:51 — 13.7MB)
Read your piece aloud. The whole thing. Yes, THE WHOLE THING. Take notes while you do so.
Blindsight, by Peter Watts, narrated by T. Ryder Smith
The microphones again find us aboard the Independence of the Seas*, to talk about how terribly ugly this manuscript is, and what we can do to make it pretty. In this episode we drill down on line-by-line, paragraph-by-paragraph revisions. This stage of the revision process is where our prose gets wordsmithed. This episode runs long, touching on:
- Punching up the pacing
- Turning things upside down
- Adverbial compression,
- The pyramid of abstraction
- Free and direct thought
- Replacing negative-information descriptions
- extreme editing exercises like “one sentence per concept.”
Obviously if you want more than just the bullet points you’ll need to have a listen…
*NOTE: Registration is now open for the 2016 Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat!
This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered ashore in a volcanic caldera by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 23:27 — 16.1MB)
Here’s a tough one: Make an editing pass in which you cut 10% of the words on each page.
November is “Revision” month here in the Writing Excuses Season 10 Master Class, so while many of you may be tempted by NaNoWriMo, there’s a different kind of work to be done… Delia Sherman joins us again, this time for a frank talk about the tools and techniques we use during our revisions.
This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered in a cloud fortress above Lake Michigan by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 21:31 — 14.8MB)
Print your manuscript, and with six colors of highlighter, mark it up. Assign one color to each of the five senses, and assign a sixth color to movement.
Revision, revision, revision. It’s easy to tell when you’re in the thick of it, but how do you know when you’re at the end of it? What does the last pass of revisions look like?
Eric James Stone joins us to talk about this. Brandon talk about his last pass of Words of Radiance, Howard throws down a code-base analogy, and Mary explains why Brandon is comfortable adding scenes during his last pass. Our goal is to help you develop a process that works for you.
Liner Note Linkage: “By the Hands of Juan Perón”
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:51 — 12.9MB)
All of the caffeine in the world is suddenly turned into another substance…
Microcasting! Again!! Now with exclamation points!!! You’ll have to have a listen for our answers, but here are the questions:
- How do you deal with bad reviews?
- How do you apply Brandon’s magic system rules to science fiction?
- Dan, will you do the marshmallow voice for us again?
- How do you keep tension high without exhausting the reader?
- You’ve made your manuscript as good as you know how to. Now you need to make it even better, based on feedback. What do you do?
- Any tips on creating suspension of disbelief?
- How do you deal with annoying fans?
“Oddly, no. Sometimes you guys are dull.” 5:22, Mary Robinette Kowal.
Mary’s Shmoozing 101 Link: Right here.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:06 — 13.1MB)
The story of the writer and her VERY ENTHUSIASTIC alien fan who is impossible to escape.