Update on my past few years: First slammed in the covid pandemic; then my husband’s retirement arrived and our move to another state; then we entered our money-pit house along with the wonderful white-pallet clean yard. (Can you say “garden?”) In the midst of all this turmoil, I started a new stand alone novel. If it weren’t for my long-standing critique group, I might have given up writing entirely. But there was the once-a-month chapter submission I was loath to surrender. (Thank you Rose, Samantha, and Jaclyn!)

So I’ve at last completed a 31-chapter MG fantasy novel with all new characters and have started digging in on revisions.

For the first time (I think), I am trying to push myself to do a complete revision each for various aspects. I’ve been using many resources to do this: Darcy Pattison, Cheryl Klein, Dwight V. Swain, Christopher Vogler, dabblerwriter, and several articles collected over the years, including notes from writers’ conferences.

First from Darcy Pattison came a one-sentence synopsis for each chapter. This is good to see the whole story arch.

And then I wrote the main feeling of the chapter. I’ve sort of been working on that but have to break it further by scenes…because, you know….FEEEEELINGS! I’m about halfway done.

Problem for me: As I look over the feelings, I think, “Now that I’ve listed them, so what?”

Rambling here… Maybe the ‘so what’ is: 1) to see that there are LOTS of different feelings going on, because feelings make the characters multi-dimensional and relatable; but also, 2) maybe I only WANTED that feeling to be expressed, but did I really do it? So I should go back over the chapter to see how I can “up” the feeling with better language or better action.

Also, I’ve been watching a lot of Korean dramas lately. Generally, so fine! I’ve been trying to figure out how it is that I can bawl my eyes out during kdramas, but hardly never feel a thing, let alone shed a tear, at American ones. Still working on that one. (Although if you’re interested, “Crash Landing On You” is still one of my top more recent kdramas.)

Thoughts like tight, make-sense plots along with twists-surprises are other things to keep the reader reading or the watcher watching are also things to keep the writer writing and the revisor revising.

Revisions are stinking hard! But once that novel is done, please persevere and revise-revise-revise.

Sandy (S. L.) Carlson

P.S. I have recently discovered that my four war unicorn books (under the S.L.Carlson name) on Kindle have seriously dropped in price. Hint-hint. My next novel adventure after these revisions will be the conclusion novel for that series.