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In Which You See the Revision Desk

This is a pretty sad photoblog, but whatever. Deal with it. I had to use Photobooth to take these pictures - I couldn't find my camera. A couple posts back, I posted in my Friday Five (which I discovered actually takes place on a Thursday for the Americans - given that my blog clock is set to some non-Australian time zone) that I might do a photoblog to accompany my revisions complaining and moaning.

Meet Beastie. I should probably be calling him RETURN, but Beastie seems more fitting. There are approximately 45K words in that, 250-ish double-spaced pages and then revisions added on to it. The post-its are mainly notes that I've shoved into parts that I haven't gotten up to, or on pages that I need a new word or to research something. You can't see any of the paper clips, only that bull dog clip, but they're the same thing: If I rewrite a scene or a chapter, I do it either on a separate sheet or on my laptop and print it, depending on how long it is. I strikethrough the scene in the manuscript and clip the new one onto first page (as you will see below) of that scene.

So to the left is Beastie's insides. You can vaguely see what's going on - and it's also back-to-front. As in, where you see my hand: that is the left side. So, I revise from word one. I make my sentence rewrites, spelling and grammar and the edits that I can write in under two sentences on the page. If it's a paragraph or two, I usually just asterisks and then write on the left page. This set is unusual as I wrote an entire page, clipped it on, then decided to cut most of it. What else? I always edit in blue or purple pen, I don't like the look of red and sometimes my eyes glide over the black on black print. I also, if you can faintly see it, put crosses next to the lines where I've made corrections. And if there's paragraphs, I just draw a line from one cross to the next. So there, there's my MS.

Now I present to you the most important thing I own. Meet Atticus. He's one of those WD My Passport Essential things, but he's also the caretaker of my brainchild and all the other brain-foetuses that I have on that drive. Everything I have every written has been bestowed to Atticus, and if there was a fire, I would undoubtedly grab him. During the revisions process, I use Atticus to print off character summaries, bits of dialogue I've typed here and there, research information from the internet that I need to keep track of, and parts of the Beastie when I'm doing several things at once to rewrite them. He also holds all my music, my soundtracks, everything.

I shall now introduce you to The Folder. I made him up during the week whilst procrastinating and I love every inch of him. I have about 100 lined pages in the front, then a divider where I've printed out The Bookshelf Muse's Emotion Thesaurus (I was really, really procrastinating that day). Then, I have dividers separating each main character, the most important supporting characters, and the antagonists. Here I put summaries, future ideas, dialogue, mannerisms, bits of paper for me to scribble notes and ideas. Some have pages of research clomped in there, others have links to youtube videos for accent reference. It's a big, fun party. (;

So this is the Wall of G. It's directly above my desk, as you can see all my pencil-holding devices and knick-knacks, and is simply five pieces of wrapping paper, turned over and scribbled on in Sharpie. Each piece is a book summary, an instalment in a series that I've planned out. There's actually one missing. I'm never motivated enough to outline the final book. That'll come back and nip me in the arse, I know it. So on top of the summaries, I have bits of dialogue, expanded scene summaries, new scenes I want to slip in, notes to myself such as "opportunity to explore layout more. Different levels, boathouse, etc". The yellow bits at the top are ideas for characters, plots, and a summary of some sort of organisation. So, there is the Wall of G - which I use by looking into future plots and finding things to foreshadow.

And then, just because I said I would, I give you the Map (cue Dora the Explorer song). Dora and Boots are going...*cough* This is my city, which I have clearly named Tallara. It's Aboriginal, very fitting for Australia. (: On the left is a list of landmarks, places that are key to any of the plots. I haven't finished filling them in yet - right now they're just little dots on the map. The map itself is of an entire city region, which includes the suburbs and the expressways leading elsewhere. I find it much easier to get a grasp on pacing when I see how far they have to travel to do certain things. This too is Sharpie on wrapping paper. It's about a metre and a half wide and lives on the wall above my bed. The wind blows the blutack off all the time.

So there you have it, this is the revision desk. I have been using these things for a while now, you know, except The Folder, and it's quite possible I might start a revision segment, giving my advice and experience, and linking and referencing other bloggers who've helped me.


  1. Holy SHIT.

    All I have is this crap little notebook I scribble in. You've got this awesome spread of...gadgets, almost? It's really cool! (And kinda shameful because when I revise I re-read the book over and adjust sentences. >__> How lame am I.)

    Awesome post though, and it makes me wanna read the actual book that you put so much effort into!

  2. I tend to work in my living room, because I watch DVDs on my laptop, as I have no proper TV to watch DVDs on, and I have this lovely computery style office which is abandoned, because of the DVD problem. So once I Have a new TV/DVD setup, I will hopefully shift all my writing crap into the office, and it will feel sooo much more official writing-ish. :D

    I enjoyed your photoblog immensely! Thanks for sharing ;)

  3. @Michelle
    You make me sound like Batman. XD You're probably more efficient - these gadgets are the product of constant procrastination.

    I had this sort of set-up because my room used to join onto the lounge room, but once we moved and my bedroom was then on the other side of the house, I shifted my writerly things to the quiet space. (:


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