SOL15: More on the Pattison Revision Retreat


Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for providing a place for community to happen each Tuesday.  There are opportunities that stick like Velcro. Two weeks ago, I attended a revision retreat facilitated by Darcy Pattison. I wrote briefly about it HERE.

One requirement for the class was the willingness to read three other manuscripts and respond. Then we exchanged then with each other at the retreat. My manuscripts are writing for me to read as is my manuscript waiting for revisions. I want it to settle for a bit as Kim Stafford once shared in a workshop, “Throw it in a drawer and let it simmer.”

One technique that Darcy advocates in her workshop is the shrunken manuscript.  By shrinking the pages to fit within a set number of pages, you can get a pretty good visual.  This is mine:


The first thing I did was to go through the one plus poems identifying specific scenes. If it were in prose, my guess is that they would be chapters. (#writingnovelinversechallenges).

This sets up a way to go through and check for the emotional arc, check for where the protagonist and the antagonist meet on the page, highlight words important to the story, look for pivots, it can be used for just about whatever you need.

It  creates a “to do” list for polishing my novel:

I need to go through and check for each line for the strength of its word.

I wonder often I use the word “tilt.” It’s a pretty important word to the story.

I have struggled with the novel’s opening scene.  The strength of my novel is the characters but the opening has been such a bug-a-boo.  Darcy  shared five different ways to create an opening. She asked that I write five different openings.  In doing so, I discovered a possible new opening.

I keep hoping for just one snowfall so I can dive back in to revisions. But for now, I will take my weekends to work.

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1 Response to SOL15: More on the Pattison Revision Retreat

  1. Linda Baie says:

    It’s a long process, and I think it’s great that among all the other things you do, you’re also writing a book, Jone. Good for you! And good luck with that opening!

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