Welcome to my blog, Write To Live. This is a blog dedicated to the literary works of Michael Beers as well as an informational blog about writing.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Revision - A Key to Better Writers and Better Stories

I have been posting on the Writers of the Future forums for the past few months and one thing I have noticed is everyone seems to be falling in love with the words of Dean Wesley Smith...wherein revision helps to kill stories.

As a former writing tutor, I have to disagree...to an extent.

Revision is a way in which authors help to shed their skin and grow into a new level.  If they begin to see problems in their works they submitted, it means they are beginning to see their weaknesses.  This means they can look at their story in a different light and, perhaps, change it to make themselves better.

By seeing our weaknesses with the critical side of the brain, we are able to make our creative sides better by avoiding pitfalls it may not see.  I cannot tell you how many times I have gone back to an old paper and wanted to fix a lot of the errors in it.  One mistake I often have is I use the words "After all," "has/have/had + past tense verb" and other things which slow. my. work. down.

Thus, we go into my writing tip.  Revision can be a good process, but you must use it correctly.

1-DIAGNOSE. First, follow a piece I learned from Writer's Digest.  Read through the story first without stopping.  If you find yourself hanging up on it, you know you have problems that need to be fixed.  Same with a First Reader or critiquer.  There have been stories I critiqued where I have looked at parts and have to scratch my head, wondering what the author was trying to say.  Those are the points I bring up in my critique first, which then leads me to part 2.

2-GRAFTING. If you find a part that is not working in the story, you have already diagnosed the problem.  Now, it's time to fix it.  But, DO NOT FIX IT BY MERELY REWORDING THE SECTION!  That is merely replanting weeds in a beautiful garden.  Remove the section first and see if the story works without it.  If it does, good.  Move on.  If it doesn't redraft that section of the work.  It is one area where I agree with Smith in stating many make the mistake of revising with only their critical side of the brain.  By deleting the problem area and forcing yourself to redraft it differently, you are forcing the creative side of the brain to find a solution to appease the critical side and, therefore, making both sides work together!  (Ah, what a novel idea!  Literally...like the Odd Couple! XD)

3-TUNE-UP. Now that you've fixed these points, it's time to look at your use of words and to find the extra crap that is slowing. you. down.  Common words to slow a work down are that, help, and other words that make an idea "flip-flopping" (such as seem to be, etc.)  Look at how the phrase is used and if it is working by deleting the phrase and rereading the section.  If it works, great.  Move on.  If it doesn't, you always have an Undo function on your word processor.

I recently followed these steps on a story I submitted to Writers of the Future which got rejected.  I didn't know why then, but now I understand what happened.  I diagnosed, grafted, and tuned up the language to make it work better.

But, remember.  Diagnose, Graft, and Tune-Up your stories.


A swift wind blew from the east, pushing Dawn towards the sunset.


"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."
Polonius from Hamlet, Shakespeare

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Flood of the Mind

So, ever since I got out of school, I have been having a flood of inspiration for writing.  I currently have 9 stories which I am trying to get out into the market, 2 of them in Writers of the Future.

I also have received 6 rejection letters to date.  More for me to feed on.

But, in eiter case, I finally got rid of a lot of distractions I was facing while I was in school (not saying school was a distraction, but you know what I mean)

Which leads me to the writing tip of the week...

Distractons, distractions, distractions


I know everyone likes to use Facebook all the time, but it was one of the things which was eating up all of my time.  If I didn't finally get away from Facebook, I would not have the ammount of stories I have completed.

It's not only a writing area thing, it's a thinking thing as well.  You can find inspiration from anywhere, as long as you're finding inspiration.

Try to keep your writing area clean so you can keep your mind clean.  Also, try to keep your distractions to a minimum.  If you need to or can, disable your internet connections while setting aside your time for writing.  It's one of the best things you can do for your stories.

Random Sentence of the Blog

Solar flares always interfere with my mind, but its to be expected when you're a robot.


Science fiction is a way in which we, as writers, show the future. However, no matter what the future brings, there is one unchanging constant: human nature. The question we address is do we find that frightening or comforting?