Most Effective Revision Techniques

Life is short. Writing is hard. And time-consuming.

As writers, there are so many different techniques available for revision, how do we know which ones to choose?  And which ones are the most effective?

In our blog posts this month, we focus on the revision techniques we've found are the most effective. The ones that give you the most improvement with least effort or time - the most bang for your buck.

Now, this doesn't mean these are the only things you should do to make your writing amazing; but instead, if you're on a time crunch, these are some great techniques to start with.

Revision Hacks: Harnessing the Red Pen
by Niki Hawkes
Just as there are countless ways to write a book, so are there countless ways to revise it. In this post I share three methods I came across that changed my revision process dramatically.

Strengthening Your Writing
by Heidi Wilde
Initially, you're just trying to get your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. First drafts are far from perfect, so how do you make your prose sparkle and pop? I'm going to detail three main questions I end up asking myself as I'm reading through a draft and what they force me to focus on.

Nuke the Site From Orbit
by Josh Morrey
So you get feedback on your story, and there are some things you need to change. Maybe you need to add more character motivation, or take out some wordy descriptions. How do you maintain the flow of your writing as you hack it up and put it back together?

The Power of Specific Language
by Heidi Thornock
This technique is one that you may consider too simple, but it's the simple things that have power. Throughout my blog post I show you how focusing on just nouns and verbs can make all the difference in the world with your writing.

What Did You Read in 2014?

If you're a writer, you're probably an avid reader as well, and if you're like me then you're always looking for something good.  January is a great time to set goals and try new things, so what a better time to blog about what you read in 2014?

My Reading List for 2014
By Tom Abbott
This year I tried to read A LOT, and I did. I tried a bunch of new authors: Terry Pratchett, David Baldacci, Neil Gaiman.

Top Read Books in 2014
by Heidi Thornock
I read a lot of books this year, but my post shares a review on my top recommendations. There is something for everyone -- one book/series in each of the following genres: sci fi, fantasy, nonfiction, horror/realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery.

2014 Reading Recap!
by Niki Hawkes
A couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that life is too short to read boring books. Since then, I've been dedicated to reading only the best books first (instead of focusing on the one I felt obligated to read, as I'd been doing before). As a result, 2014 was easily the best year in reading I've ever had (not to mention the most fun). If you like speculative fiction as much as I do, check out all the amazing authors that knocked my socks off in 2014!


What Did I Read Last Year? Well. . .
By Shantal Hiatt
Talk about a kick in the pants. Yeah, you're gonna hear what I read last year. Be ya can't wait;) It's just what I needed to get going on my blog again and set some realistic goals for reading and writing in the year to come. My critique group, called Writer's Ramble, is focusing on what we read last year. I'm not sure I'm ready to give out this information. It feels a little like I'm opening up about something that's really personal. But, obviously not. As if anyone bats an eye about that anymore. I guess it's public enough. I do have a Goodreads account after all:) Come see what awesome books I read. You might be interested in reading them too.

Tricks and Treats

Halloween 2014
Courtesy of http://www.wallpapersandimages.com/

October is a time for stories. Scary stories, funny stories, twisted tales of terror. Since we at the Ramble are always talking about writing, but most of us aren't officially published, we thought we'd do something a little different this month.

We've each written a short story to share.  Some are lighthearted, and some are...well, not.  But all of them are somehow inspired by the season.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy.  And have a happy Halloween..





Dinner Plans
by Heidi Thornock
What with body parts falling apart and difficulty in communication, how could zombies actually show each other they were in love?

Lightning Flashes
by Josh Morrey
I've actually included a few different flash fiction horror stories for this post, one of which was a finalist in an online horror contest last year. Check them out.

Goblin Accounting Office
by Tom Abbott
Transcript of a recording taken at Aragorn Air Force Reserve station, by Ssgt Joe Robinson, at the Goblin Accounting Office, August 15, 2010.

The Writing Process: Finding Time to Write

If you're a writer, chances are you've struggled with finding the time to write. Let's face it, most of us spend more time stressing about writing than actually doing it. Sometimes getting a little insight into how other people manage their writing time can help you develop a system that works for you. Who knows, perhaps you'll read about the method you haven't tried yet that could make all the difference in your own writing process.

So with that in mind, we invite you to click on the article below that sounds most interesting to you, read it, then come back and choose another. Lather, rinse, repeat.
                                                                                                                                                               

Making Time for Writing
by Tom Abbott
How do you make time to write?  Let me share with you what three things that have worked for me.

How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Ways…
by Heidi Thornock
In my post I talk about the multiple unconventional methods I have found for finding time to write. I try to give practical advice from one who has tried multiple strategies. I also give you ways and reasons to stop beating yourself up for NOT writing as much as you "should."

Do You Sabotage Your Writing Time?
by Josh Morrey
So this month's topic for the Writers' Ramble is Finding Time to Write. Which we all know really translates to Making Time to Write. Which is really just making writing a higher priority than many other aspects of your life. So my question is not how do you find time to write, but what do you let keep you from your writing?

Who Has Time to Write? (Part II)
by Niki Hawkes
In this article, I present advice I have gathered from published authors and explain how their words of wisdom have shaped my own writing processes. After all, these men and women have managed to turn their passion into full-time careers and, by examining how they find time to write, we can get an insight on what it takes to be successful in this business.

My Plan of Attack
by Heidi Wilde
In this month’s Ramble we discuss making time for writing. This is something I struggle with every day. It makes no sense, really. Why do I avoid and back-burner something I enjoy so much? I've recently made a three-part plan to deal with my avoidance issues.  If you find yourself avoiding your own creative pursuits, perhaps this will help you as well.

Getting into the Zone
by Shantal Sessions
If you're a writer, you know exactly what I mean. With all of the distractions that life throws at us, (work, family, friends, responsibilities in general) it's a miracle anyone of us can find the time to write it all. You can't exactly get rid of all of life's distractions, (not those ones, anyway:) but they can certainly be tamed. More on that in a minute. The harder part for me when I do finally allow myself writing time is sitting down at my computer, fingers hovering over the keyboard, and I'm staring at a blank page. Or I'm staring at words I've written before that need editing, and I've no idea how to fix them. Nothing comes to mind – nothing! This is when I sigh, bang my head on the desk and desperately want to pull my hair out. However, there is hope. :)

A Satisfying Ending

Have you ever gotten to the end of a short story, or worse, the end of a novel, and wanted to scream? Whether at the book or the author or the friend who recommended it, when the end of a story is unsatisfying, we can't help but want to blame someone and slap them over the head, especially if we were emotionally invested in that story.

No matter what you write, endings are the most important part of any story. A reader wants to leave your world feeling satisfied with what they experienced. So how do you not utterly screw that up? This month the Writers Ramble takes a look at Satisfying Endings and how to do them right.

So read the blurbs, pick a link that interests you, and read the full article. Then come on back for the next one.
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Perfect Endings
by Heidi Thornock
There are lots of styles and techniques and suggestions out there about how to write the perfect ending to a story. And it's all good advice, and a great place to start. But in my blog, I take a more personal approach this month and talk about what I try to accomplish with my endings and some samples of how I do that...as well as a brief (I promise) rant about one of the most frustrating unsatisfying endings I've ever read and why.

It All Comes Right in the End
by Heidi Wilde
Have you ever finished a book, put it down and sighed? Was it a sigh of exasperation, or one of contentment? Perhaps it was one filled with regret because the story had ended. Maybe it was a sigh of pure joy because you felt empowered and changed. What is it that gives us these varying reactions at the end of a tale? What kind of reactions do you want your readers to have? What kinds of endings do you as a reader find most satisfying and have you ever paused to figure out why?

Deus Ex Offensus
by Josh Morrey
Endings are the hardest and most important part of writing. If you screw up your ending, you might as well just throw the story away, because chances are, no one will want to read it. So how do you know how and when to end your story? We'll look at a few ways to figure this out and talk about how to do it right. 

Writing Diaries: Writing Satisfying Endings
by Niki Hawkes
A lot more goes into writing a great ending than most people realize. There are so many elements to consider, everything from conflict resolutions to character growth, and they all have to weave their way to a single, satisfying ending. In this post, I'll present my four essential elements of story endings and speculate on why some strategies work better than others when concluding a story.

Writing a Satisfying Ending
by Tom Abbott
The ending to your story will make it or break it for your readers.  You need a good payoff, but how do you do that?  This question doesn’t have an easy answer.  It’s a problem that has plagued writers since mankind first put pen to paper.

Why Do You Write?

Why do you write?  No one is making you do this.  If you wanted an easy sense of accomplishment, you could play World of Warcraft.  If you wanted to hear someone to tell you that you were wonderful, you could call your mother.  If you wanted a devoted fan, you could get a puppy

So, why do you write?

Because you love it!

Why Write?
by Tom Abbott
This month, in honor of Valentine's Day my writer's group decided to write about why we love writing.  It's an appropriate question really, and one that every writer ought to ask themselves: why do I do this?

Top Eight Things I *Love* About Writing
by Heidi Thornock
Why do writers write?  It's certainly not for the money. The major success stories are all we hear about, but they are actually so rare as to be laughable.  So why do writers write?

Why Do You Write?
by Heidi Wilde
Any time someone asks the question “Why do you write?” I hear the following quote in my mind: “I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime; it's an unyielding calling and my passion.” -- Elizabeth Reyes

Hunting Treasure
by Josh Morrey
Have you ever gone on a quest? Have you ever hunted a treasure? In many great tales, be them fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, or any other genre, the hero must undertake some quest in order to prove himself and claim some invaluable prize. How are these fantastic journeys similar to a writer's love of storytelling?


New Year's Writing Goals

This is the time of year when we all strive to work toward making something better over the long term. This year is no different.

Our posts this month will focus on our personal resolutions as they relate to our writing. Our goals are varied, and perhaps from our decisions, you'll find something you relate to as well.

And if nothing else, for our sakes, making our goals public makes us more accountable to achieving them. Best of luck to you in your attempts at improvement.

Resolve, or Resign?
By Josh Morrey
I'm currently experiencing the worst writing slump of my short career. How do I pull myself out of it?

Resolutions and Promises
By Heidi Wilde
What do you want to accomplish this year? I'll tell you what's on my list :)

How I'm Going to Write When Life Gets in the Way
By Heidi Thornock
I've tried so many different ways to improve my writing, and it seems like just as I get something figured out that works, life throws me a curve ball.  Read my post to discover my recent decisions at hitting the latest curve ball.

Making New Year's Resolutions Work for You
By Tom Abbott
Do you include writing goals in your New Year’s resolutions?  How do you set meaningful goals and make yourself stick to them?  When has setting writing goals worked for you in the past?