Kit Reed’s “Revision”

I first read Kit Reed’s Revision (probably) four years ago. It was one of the first books I read when I decided to spend the rest of my life writing. I dogeared two pages.

I finished my second read about a week ago (as I write this). The book is a mess of dogeared pages.

It’s amazing how much more Kit Reed put into this book in four years, don’t you think?

Extra Effort Closes the Distance between You and Your Audience.

 
The entirety of the book comes down to Reed’s Rule Six: Extra Effort Closes the Distance between You and Your Audience.

Whenever you come to a moment of hesitation, unsurety, confusion, skimming, general off-ness, stop, figure out what’s not working, and fix it.

 
And Reed also provides a caution; Recognize when it’s done and let it go. There’s lots of examples of recognizing when something’s let-goable and when something isn’t. The one that hit me smack between the eyes is “Whenever you come to a moment of hesitation, unsurety, confusion, skimming, general off-ness, stop, figure out what’s not working, and fix it.”

I am training myself to do that. Too many times I’d read something and need to reread it, figure it out on the second take and decide it was okay.

NO, IT WASN’T!

Reed also offers several question lists to help you in your own revising. Early in the book Reed poses twelve questions so you can learn if you’re open to revision. Don’t know about others, I found it revealing (especially when invoking Reed’s suggestion to be strict (unforgiving) with your answers).

Another duh! list early in the book (pg 39) deals with determining if your work (and others, too, if you’re in a critique group) is ready to go out. Reed suggests writers/authors/writer-wannabes read for:

  1. Truth in action
  2. Accessibility
  3. Completeness
  4. Time scheme
  5. Point of view
  6. Length (with an eye to possible cutting)
  7. Organization
  8. And, once again, balance of showing versus telling. (Reed’s words, this, not mine)

Unsure what some of those mean? Read the book.


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I Can Crack My Knuckles Therefore I Must Be a Chiropractor! (Musings on Expertise)

[[This post originally appeared on my Stating the Obvious blog back in 2011. I’m resurrecting it because I’m currently taking a series of classes from people who are…interesting. Why interesting? Well, as an example, if you can’t remember the terms for what you’re teaching, perhaps you shouldn’t be teaching it. Or how about, if every student’s answer is correct – even when they contradict each other – perhaps the first part of the class should be “We’re going to be sharing opinions. There’s no right or wrong.” Or how about…

And this has more to do with me and my expectations than those teaching.

And I have definitely learned from them.

And here, for your enjoyment,

I Can Crack My Knuckles Therefore I Must Be a Chiropractor! (Musings on Expertise) Enjoy!

This post is about lowering the bar. In a world where everyone is a guru, maven, jedi, rock star, queen, genius, leader and last but not least, expert, how do we recognize real ability from self-defined hype and bling? There have been two LinkedIn discussions that I know of, one in social media, the other in analytics, one from Apr 2011, the other from earlier in 2011 and both themed “What is expertise?” I wrote The Unfulfilled Promise of Online Analytics series (I’ll resurrect those, too, if you’d like) a while ago and one of its subthemes is “What is expertise?”

The level of “expertise” required to hang out a shingle has gone beyond touching the ground, it’s gone subterranean in many disciplines. And it’s pointless to create governance groups that offer accreditation because once such groups gain popularity they are usurped by vendors and HIPPOs to serve purposes different than governance and accreditation.

Let me offer some suggestions for marketers and consumers of expertise. Note: especially those marketing their teaching/editing/proofing skills.

Truth in Self-Marketing Rule #1: Never Believe Your Own Hype
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Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Sept 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

This month’s great opening lines deal with youth and how we as adults reconcile our youths.

“My room is cold.” – S.M. Stevens’ Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
So simple and so powerful. Four short words and we’re already inside the character, have a sense of isolation, deprivation, futility, victimization, … Wow. Not since Anne McCaffery’s “Lessa woke, cold.” in Dragonflight has so simple an opening been so evocative.
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Steve Searls’s Dalliance

I’ve mentioned Steve Searls’s writing chops twice before in Steve Searls “A Little Chit-Chat” and Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Aug 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

He continues to impress, this time in his Dalliance blog post.

Here’s a sample:

It begins with the placement of a necklace: simple gold chain links– not curb link, not snake, not rope – in a Figaro design. It is carefully placed so that the charm that hangs down, gold rings of varying sizes, dangles between the V of your breasts as you stand and watch yourself in the mirror above the sink, twisting back and forth. You hop from your right foot to left foot, searching out the angles, the light and the shadows that augment your form, your skin tone, the small mole on your neck.

A fascinating read.

Are there some errors and such? Yes. Minor.

Searls told me that his publisher offered little editing advice/services and asked him to rush his first novel into print.

I told Searls “Never let anyone rush you again. You’re too good an author to rush your work.”

Steve Searls’s Dalliance bears that out.

Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Aug 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

This month’s great opening lines deal with two damsels in distress.

“I lay on a metal surface, unable to move, in a dark room except for a single light bulb swinging in a far corner.” – Steve Searls’ My Travels With a Dead Man
Kinesthetic and visual sensory information, a sense of isolation, and threat in twenty-four words. Bravo!
Continue reading “Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Aug 2020’s Great Opening Lines)”