REVISION: What is it good for (absolutely everything) (groan)

The first book I ever wrote I didnt revise AT ALL

I was terrified to (imposter syndrome?) & also had this idea in my head that if the first draft wasnt perfect, it never would be


One of the best things you can do for your writing is learn to revise. Cause you're going to be doing a lot of it--you revise before you query you revise after you query you revise with your agent you revise with your editor...well you get the point

Revision is VITAL to writing!

(I realized this after writing a 2nd book, doing a (not great) R&R on it and then burying it, writing a THIRD book & getting yet another R&R & deciding it was finally time to really lean how to do it)

Only took me 3 books to figure it out


Here are some tips:

▪️Did you just finish your first draft? THEN PAUSE! (Seriously, do.) It’s so hard to see anything clearly when you literally just birthed your baby (gross, but kinda accurate) Take a couple weeks (or more if you can stand it). Dont think about it!

▪️Excel/Google Docs are your friends. Think about what your CPs said about your story. Break those notes apart, and put them in the grid of your choosing- nothing the issues mentioned, where they are, and ideas on how to fix them on the page

▪️To that point: CPs are VERY useful! I never had ANY (unless you count my parents/husband which you shouldnt) b/c I was always too imposter-brain-y to be like "I'm a writer, you're a writer, let's be friends")


▪️Look at your story as a whole, and in parts. It's important to see overarching ideas/character stuff that might be missing but it's equally important to examine your writing on a sentence level for cadence, construction, repeated/overused words (i.e. JUST), etc

▪️Reading your work in a different format (out loud / printed / etc) can make you see/hear it in a different way. Mistakes you dont see on your computer will probably jump out at you / surprise you.

▪️Dont be afraid to murder your words if you need to. (Just have a separate doc to put deleted scenes onto -- they WILL come in handy. A scene that I'd deleted from THE LUCKY ONES ended up back in there during edits and is in the final book!)

▪️It's tempting to revise your first 10 pages over and over (and over) again, but that isn't ACTUALLY revising your book (trust me, I have been guilty of this maaaaaany times in the past). Your book as a WHOLE needs work (it does, sorry, no one has ever written a perfect first draft it is impossible and I will fight anyone who disagrees with me) because middles lag and endings fizzle. Sure, your opening pgs are important (of course they are!) but they aren't the end all be all.

Liz Lawson

Over 7 years in the music industry, Liz has worked as a music journalist (Paste Magazine, Tiny Mix Tapes), a music publicist (Orange Twin Records, former home of Neutral Milk Hotel), and now a music supervisor. She started her career working for illustrious music sup's Gary Calamar and Alyson Vidoli, assisting on shows like True Blood, Dexter, and House, and moved on to learn as a music coordinator under Carrie Hughes (The Hills), where she worked on several shows under the Viacom blanket (MTV, CMT, VH1). Never one to rest of her laurels, she managed to scored her own show (Black Ink Crew, VH1) several months later, and soon found a home music sup'ing that show and multiple indie films, including "May the Best Man Win" which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2014 and was directed and written by Andrew O'Connor of Peep Show fame. She's currently branding her business as Vinyl Rules Music Supervision, and is currently music sup'ing Black Ink Crew and well as two indie films: A Light Beneath Their Feet, starring Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black) and Madison Davenport, (Noah). Zen Dog, starring Kyle Gallner (the upcoming Clint Eastwood picture American Sniper, Veronica Mars) and Clea DuVall (Girl, Interrupted, Argo).