Friday, October 28, 2011

RAP (or Revision Attack Plan)

Well, I've been away from my story now for a week and a half.

It's not that long but I can't leave it alone that long right now. I've got the Golden Heart entry to prepare. It's now time to plan for revisions or to devise a RAP (Revision Attack Plan).

I've taken a bunch of classes. I've read a bunch of books. But I was wondering, dear readers, what are your favorite ways to revise? Do you have a RAP? Do you make flowcharts? Do you use excel or a special writing program? Is there a technique you like?

For my part, I've decided to tackle the plot element issues first. Rearrange scenes, add some where there are missing ones, adjust many (particularly in the middle) and cut some where they are dull. I do an excel spreadsheet to check for POV and structure issues, utilizing a four act plan and skills from Carol Hughes's Deep Story class. Then I layer. I love these posts here and here by Renee Ryan about layering. Finally, I mess with the freshness of my writing with Margie Lawson's EDITS system.

So, how about you? Let's share!


  1. I use basically the same plan, though I think your spreadsheet is the same as my storyboard, so I recommend doing that first. Makes seeing which scenes you need to add/delete. I need to study that Deep Story stuff, check out those layering posts, and dig out my Lawson EDITS stuff.

    Looks like 2012 is going to be the year of applying what I've spent five years learning.

    Go get 'em, Marn!

  2. I like to print it out one-sided and put in a binder. Then I go through with a pen, hacking away and making notes.

    I seem to read it different on paper than on a computer screen. Since the back of the pages are blank, I have plenty of room to make notes and add new scenes if needed.

    Love the acronym RAP. Totally stealing that :)

  3. Ter - I think I took all these classes and read all these books but I think all of it just crystallized this year for me. It's ok; I've only been doing this for four years. *sigh* hahaha!

    You go get 'em too, girl!

    Dawn - You can have RAP. I was going to say it's a Revision Action Plan, but I wanted something with more fight, ya know? LOL!!

    I was thinking of printing it out. Maybe after the first wave of plot revisions.... Thanks!!

  4. Um, basically what you do, actually, though I use the four-act/nine-milestone structure from Story Engineering by Larry Brooks pretty heavily. In my spreadsheet, I note out what the POV character's scene goal is for every scene, as well as the setting, etc., so I can look for repetition.

    In writing romantic suspense, I found that sometimes I tend too hard to either romance or suspense, so I like to go through each scene and ask myself what I can do to raise the tension for whichever storyline is lagging in that scene. I've actually added characters just to threaten them and ultimately kill them off (which sounds terrible [from a moral and a technique standpoint], but seems to be working). So I guess that's one layer I work on. But I'll definitely be reading those layering posts! I can always work on that.

    I second printing it out--EDITS is better on paper!

  5. I've never heard of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I'm going to look that up.

    The whole romantic suspense element is a little interesting in my story too. It was hard, during the writing, to keep from favoring one over the other. I think, though, there are parts where I do that. I'm going to remember to hit that again in revisions. :)

    And I'm going to definitely print out, I think. Maybe I'll take it to Kinkos and have them bind it for me.

  6. Good luck with your revisions!

    I use an Excel spreadsheet during revisions to keep track of the story, scene by scene, so I can see which POV it's in, what happens, what the hook is, things like that. I also have a column where I list things that need to be added, or how it might seem similar in purpose to another scene. It's the best way for me to keep all the details of my story in place. :)