Enlightened Revising Creates Exhilarated Rewriting

enlightened revisingFacing a blank page often thrusts a writer into prolonged bouts of procrastination, fear, terror even. Free writing is a joy when you at least have a vague idea where you’re going. Unexpectedly, when I took the challenge to write the entire first draft of The Avenue from beginning to end without once going back to rewrite, I found the discipline of forging ahead liberating. I followed prompt-by-prompt in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts (an experience I wrote about in the book and had never actually done — always falling prey to going back over what I’d already written and incessantly rewriting). I euphorically wrote The End and immediately undertook the goal of taking that first and rough draft through the 30 steps of the Revise Your Novel in a Month on-line, self-paced video program. I even invited you along. Likely you finished the month-long program long ago. I would have, too, if I hadn’t fallen into rewriting before revising (I wrote a cautionary tale HERE). And, though I may not be the first to arrive, now I have, finally ready to revise. Enlightened revising creates exhilarated rewriting.


Revising is different than rewriting. When you revise, you remove yourself from the word level and thrust yourself beyond to consider your manuscript at the overall story and scene levels. Revision is just that — re “visual” izing or re”see” ing your story from a new and fresh angle, through an unfamiliar prism, a unique perspective you haven’t “seen” or considered, Revision is often counterintuitive to highly creative and wild writers in its analytical, organized, linear demands. Revising doesn’t include any actual writing. But writers write, you cry out. Yes, and we also revise.


Rewriting a word or phrase or description or entire draft is simply that — re “writing” what you’ve already written, word-by-word. I get lost in free writing and then going back and rewriting my first set of words and even in subsequent entire drafts. The joy of massaging cliched and general words and phrases and descriptions to specific and perfect for your own individual story fills hours. 

Enlightened Revising

Just the thought of revising after the marathon of incorporating in the the Beginning (1/4) of The Avenue the piles of notes I’d made during the rough draft calms my breathing. Yes, switching from my creative, wild side to a more analytical and organized side took me much longer than I first intended. Always before, I’ve rewritten at least a few times, sometimes many, many, many drafts before revising. Now the chance to evaluate my very first and rough vision from a deeper and broader view by standing back away from the words excites me. Marking scene beginnings and ends; evaluating how many scenes in key locations; analyzing for the essential elements within each scene, chapter, section; character traits introduced in the beginning scenes (1/4)? deepened in the middle scenes (1/2)? transformed in the End (1/4)?; and so much more.      

Enlightened revising is a fascinating stage of writing a novel with a plot and much like witnessing a fledging pelican fly for the first time. Fascinated, I watch a baby pelican from my window as she peers over the edge of a two story building not only unaware she can fly, has absolutely no idea the entire Monterey Bay and beyond await her. But I digress. As eager as I stubbornly look forward to the exhilarated rewriting stage, I’m respectful being here in the enlightened revising stage for now. I look forward to discovering the marvels that await me.

If you’d like to join me in taking apart your story, analyzing what you’ve written, brainstorming, and revising, Revise Your Novel in a Month is $100 off! The link takes you to A Path to Publishing website for a description and purchase.)

Whatever stage you are right now, I wish you joy in discovering the marvels that await you through your passion for writing.

Coming in September!

novelwritingI ‘m excited to announce Novel Writing Intensive on-line workshop. If you haven’t started or finished a draft of a middle grade, young adult, or adult novel in order to join me in the revision program, I invite you to the new online class I’ve put together with Literary Agent Jill Corcoran. 

All Genres
For all writing levels
Intensive limited to 8 writers
8 Weeks

In this 8-week on-line program, Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran provide constructive feedback as you develop/refine your novel concept, characters, plot, dialogue, dramatic action, emotional moments, and themes.

Tuesdays 10am – 12:30pm Pacific/1pm – 3:30pm Eastern
September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Weekly 2 1/2 hours Discussion based on assigned homework and feedback from both Martha and Jill that apply to your individual plot and novel elements for a total of 8 Discussion sessions.

For more information, go to: Write Your NovelThe link takes you to A Path to Publishing for a full description and to sign-up,.