Thursday, July 21, 2011

Need A Great Revision Tool? Remember "The Backpack"

Photo taken by me; modeled by Courtney C.
I've been meaning to post this for a month or so, but something always seems to intervene, whether my photo shoot for the post was delayed or it was simply my procrastination. After posting When Writing Fails, Facepalm last week--saying how I was having trouble with an overloaded plot--I thought there was no better time than now to finally write this.

Photo by me; modeled by Courtney C.
About a month ago I watched a live streaming of "The Dark Days of Supernatural" book tour featuring authors Veronica Roth of "Divergent"; Tara Hudson of "Hereafter"; Amy Plum of "Die For Me"; Aprilynne Pike of "Illusions"; and Ellen Schreiber of "Vampire Kisses 8: Cryptic Cravings." There was one piece of advice Veronica Roth said that has stuck with me since--only recently have I discovered she has a blog post about it, as well. It was a great advice that I have taken to heart, especially since my book feels so overrun by ideas.

Attention Writers: When revising, remember "The Backpack"!

"I learned about The Backpack from my writing professor (the brilliant Shauna Seliy). And it goes like this: imagine that you are about to embark upon a twenty mile hike through the wilderness, and you have to fit everything you need into one backpack. Do you want to bring your hair dryer? Uh, no. First of all, because there aren't any plugs. Second of all, because no one's going to see you. And third, and most importantly, because it will take up space in your already cramped backpack, and it's completely unnecessary." 
  --Veronica Roth                     

The full content about "The Backpack" can be found here on Veronica Roth's blog.

Photo by me; modeled by Courtney C.
The purpose of the "The Backpack" is learning to cut out what scenes and subplots are not imperative to your characters or the plot of your story, no matter how painful it may be. There are many scenes currently in my book that I want to keep--I even find myself trying to convince myself that it IS essential to my book, other than being just a good scene. Finally, a few days ago, I told myself I'll worry about it when I'm done--throw all the stuff in "the backpack" and deal with the clutter later. This is a revising tool after all ;)

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