Monday, May 18, 2009

Manuscript Makeover...

I recently borrowed this book by Elizabeth Lyon, via ILL and have now ordered a copy. A necessity these days - can't just buy reference books sight unseen.

BUT, wow, this book looks fantastic and extremely helpful, both to revise AND for writing an ms from the beginning. Its layout - here's the Table of Contents - is logical and makes it easy to zero in on the areas with which you need help. She discusses all the usual writing elements, but approaches things in a unique way.

In Voice, for instance, she introduces the technique of "riff-writing", in which you "...expand your imagination around a particular problem or need -- to lengthen a section, to add images, or to develop more characterization, for instance. You then take the riffs and fold them into your story." (p. 10) There follows a point by point guide to the technique, followed by an example.

One of the other features I really like is the series of checklists she includes in each section, in many cases including Advantages/Disadvantages of the writing element on which she's focussing.

It's not so much a book you read cover to cover, like some writing books, but one into which you can dip as you have need, though reading whole sections at a time is certainly easy enough as her style is conversational and absorbing.

I'm so glad my friend Beth at work was able to bring this book in through ILL for me. I'll put in a plug for those of you who have access to a public library to take advantage of this service. Here in BC we have a system where we can order items from any participating library in the province. You can search for and place a request for a book yourself OR call or visit your library to make the request. For those items not available through Outlook, the search can be expanded across Canada or even, from time to time, into the US.

Ok - I'll now return to the main point of this post. Manuscript Makeover is subtitled "Revision Techniques no Fiction Writer can Afford to Ignore" - and I believe it lives up to this tagline :)

Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian friends!


Currently Reading: The Almost Archer Sisters by Lisa Gabriele
Link of the Day: Women's History Primary Source Documents


Annette said...

Looks like an awesome book, Teresa. I'll have to see if my library has a copy.

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh no! I may need to buy another writing book! (Don't tell Rene...)

Tess said...

Annette - if not, check for it through ILL :)

Melissa - LOL! I promise I'll keep your secret.