Scene-By-Scene Revision

I had a much longer post planned today about the pluses and minuses of taking detours from your writing plans and chasing shiny objects.

I promise to write that eventually and link to it, but it’s Christmas Eve. Once I finished 30 minutes of (re)writing fiction with my cup of tea, I spent the morning getting as much as I can ready for a breakfast buffet I’m hosting tomorrow.

The photo below shows my first attempt at frozen chocolate-dipped strawberries (you can see I had mixed success but I think they’ll taste good):

Also not relevant to writing, I pulled out my mom’s 1950s dish warmer to keep the bacon, mini-quiches, and toast warm tomorrow:

I still have some dishes to sort out and a whisky sour recipe to try (more retro fun, as that was my dad’s favorite drink).

So for today I’m simply sharing the checklist I use when I reach my near final rewrite and focus on each individual scene:

Scene-Level Revision Checklist
  • Is each scene necessary to a plot or subplot?
  • Is the point of view the strongest choice for each scene?
  • Does the writing bring your reader into each scene using all five senses, not only sight and hearing?
  • Are the characters’ emotions and motives clear enough for the reader to understand?
  • Are your characters behaving in ways your reader will believe?

I’ve been referring to this list the last few days as I do what I hope are final revisions on The Worried Man, the first book in a new mystery series. I love this part of writing, so it was a little hard to tear myself away to clean and wrap presents.

Visiting City Hall on my birthday – nice of Chicago to put up a tree for me

Once I did, though, I was glad. I love the winter holidays and the friends and family I share them with.

So I guess I did write about shiny objects and detours after all, in a way. I let myself veer from my writing goals, and that’s okay.

Until Friday (and Season’s Greetings!)–

L.M. Lilly


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