Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Sandwich With a Side of Revisions

I've been getting feedback from betas and CPs on the first draft of my WIP.

All I can say is...ouch.

I decided to put the changes needed on index cards to put order in my new universe of manuscript chaos.

On the right are a pile of details that need fixing.

In the middle are plot problems (some are so huge--let's just say that some of those cards mean weeks of revisions, at least).

On the left is a sandwich that makes me happy. In these trying times of revisions, though I love the Oreos, it's better to stuff oneself with this:

Brain-Food Critique Sandwich

100 Calorie multi-grain bread
Schmear of guacamole
Sprouts
Cilantro
Lettuce
English cucumber slices
Slice of Emmentaler cheese

For me, it helps the critiques go down better--even more so than chocolate. (I can hear gasps of disbelief! Really. I love chocolate, but my salt-tooth is anatomically larger than my sweet tooth.)

How about you? Do you do anything that makes the crits easier to deal with? Any tips on how you organize all the feedback?

If you have a moment, please check out Laura's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog post where she answers this question: "In my writing, I always/never_____".

59 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

That sandwich looks YUM! I don't know what, if ever, I've done to take the sting out of crits. I think I've just swallowed my pride, done my notes like you and dug in. Oh, and maybe procrastinate for a really long time.

Tracy said...

I'm a big starbucks coffee drinker. So whenever I have a ton of revising/beta reviews to goo over I grab myself the biggest cup I can get. Needless to say, I think your power food is much healthier.

I go through revisions in steps. First I go through and try to take care of the big nagging plot holes/ motivation issues that were pointed out to me. Then when I'm done with that I'll go back through with an eye for fixing the smaller issues, details that need fleshing out, etc. And lastly, when I feel I've done steps 1 & 2 as completely as I can, I'll move on to the line editing to take out all the unnecessary words and tighten the prose.

That's a lot of sandwiches in your future!

Matthew Rush said...

For me it's just a matter of giving it time. Time usually allows my perspective to adjust.

Stephanie M. Lorée said...

I plug major plot holes or motivational issues first. This often requires multiple tweaks in multiple chapters. I make notes in each chapter where the problem presents itself.

Then I go chapter by chapter, front to back, and edit. If a chapter or scene needs an entire rewrite, I do that when I get to that chapter. I make more notes about things I need to plant in earlier or change in later.

Generally speaking, since I've transferred from panster to plotter, I hardly have major issues anymore. Instead, I have things I want to add or line edits to make, words to tighten. Plot holes are easier to see with an outline.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Does curling up in a ball and sucking my thumb count? ;o)

Seriously, though, I just take whatever crits or suggestions I get, put them up on my monitor and flip between them and my manuscript until I have all the revisions done. And bravo for you putting a first draft out there in the world. I'm not brave enough to send my words out that early.

Angela Felsted said...

Hot chocolate with a nice, decadent cover of whip cream.

Jamie Grey said...

I am so dealing with the same thing right now! I just got crits back and had to go crawl under the desk for a while to recover.

But, I use peanut butter and apples - total comfort food for me - to get me through the worst of it. It doesn't make it any easier, but it sure tastes good :)

I do love the index card idea! I use that one myself. I'm also a spreadsheet girl so I write down in one column what I currently have and the next what I need to have. It works pretty well.

Good luck with the revisions!

Meredith said...

That sandwich looks so yummy! That would definitely make crits go down easier. I usually use a strong cup of coffee. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I go for a run. For some reason, it helps me sort out the feedback and come up with a solution. By the time I get home, I'm dying to get started on the edits . . . too bad I have to have a shower first (trust me on that one). :)

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

YUM! Like you my salt tooth always wins out. I find that working on my revisions closer to morning works better for one reason...that's when I get the most brain food. At some point in my life I was taught that breakfast makes my brain work and I suppose they were right. On the days I don't have breakfast, I struggle. Horribly.

As far as handeling critiques. I have the same folks doing them and I trust them 100% so getting the feedback no longer stings and I am more than willing to either change the scene or at the least consider the change. They go through it chapter by chapter (haha title of my blog) with me so my revisions aren't massive. Then once I hit the end of Act 1 they go through chapters in one sitting so they can find any plot bumps or character oddities that didn't stand out before.
I do the same for them. For me it's breakfast and the people I trust. That's my system.

Terri Tiffany said...

Um... I cry first:)) LOL Then I take some time, breathe, and read them again. You sound so organized!

Connie said...

A deep breath, prayer, and a glass of red wine. I can't indulge my salt cravings because I'd finish an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips.

Lisa Potts said...

Crits are tough sometimes. I have to read them and then step away for a day or two before seriously tacking anything. Gives my brain a chance to digest and re-focus.

The sandwich looks amazing. I might even give up my chocolate for that one, but probably not : )

Carol Kilgore said...

I just came from Joanne's blog, Whole Latte Life, and she has brownies. You have an amazing sandwich. I have coffee. Black. No sugar. What's wrong with this picture :)

My salt tooth is the big one for me, too.

Crits - a curse and a blessing. Mine come in three sizes:
The Duh - slaps head and says YES!
The Ain't No Way - self-explanatory
The I Have to Think About It - ditto

Funny thing is, I often end up doing a lot with the Ain't No Way ones.

Magan said...

Oh I never thought about using notecards to mark down the changes! Usually my CPs and Beta's make a style sheet with their suggestions, so I go off of that, but notecards are a nice way to organize!

And I snack 24/7...soo...but while writing about aliens I like to use jello or pudding since they are the creepiest food.

Bossy Betty said...

The note cards are a great idea! (So is the sandwich.)

mshatch said...

ha! I got one of those stinging crits last night on my latest chapter. I'll probably do what I always do; stew about it for a bit, then revise until I hear those magic words - yes! you nailed it!

love the note cards; I've got tons scattered over my desk, too.

BECKY said...

This is a great question that I had to really think about for awhile. My first knee-jerk reaction is dismay (WHAT?? They didn't just love every word??) Then I'm a little hurt...and then I have the "I'll show them" attitude...and voile'...I'm full of spunk again! :)

Olga said...

I'm one of those rare individuals who has never eaten an Oreo. I'm with you about the Salt Tooth.

Shallee said...

I ALWAYS give it a few days before I do anything with a critique. I read through the crit once or twice, and put it away. I let the the sting fade, and let my mind digest the information. After a few days, I can look at it more objectively and dig out the truth from it.

Critiques often hurt, but I guess you could say they hurt good!

Erin Cole said...

That sandwich looks delicious!

I use Excel to organize my scenes, with these headings at the top: (Goal for the scene), (Conflict), (Disaster), and (Emotions/thoughts) - this is taken from a writing class I had awhile back. This helps define what is really going on in each scene and how it leads into the next one.

On top of that, I also color code each scene per main character. My main character is green, my detective is red, and other characters that might dominate certain scenes are in another color - this helps balance POV throughout the book, and it is also a quick glance at who is in the scene.

First feedback is always rough - and I'll be getting a taste of that this summer! Good luck in editing, Lydia.

Heather said...

I have a glass of wine when reading through my critiques for the first time. Your sandwich sounds like a much better idea though! LOL! And it looks really good...

Holly Ruggiero said...

YIKES! Healthy food helps take the bad news for me too. I think it’s because my body feels good and healthy and wants to stay that way.

lbdiamond said...

Crying to writerly pals helps me adjust to feedback, LOL!

That sandwich looks FABULOUS!!!!!

Revisions are always daunting to me, but once I get into it, they seem to work out. I'm sure you can do it!

Cheeseboy said...

That sandwich made me smarter just reading about it.

And hungry.

JEM said...

Seems like everyone is in revisions these days, including myself. I imagine a world in which I can just hand over the first draft to someone who will solve all the problems for me. Le sigh. I also now want your sandwich.

Critique Sisters said...

I've found the same thing as Erica (above). If you can find critique partners to work with over the long haul, people you trust and respect, that's the best! It really helps when you can go over the critique face-to-face, too, or at least on the telephone. Much less sting-y!

Linda

Em said...

Oh, I hear you! I just got notes on a screenplay I thought was done. Most of the notes are excellent. But it means some plot changes/ redevelopment. Weeks of work. Does it help to know you aren't alone?

Sarah said...

Your sandwich looks super-yum! Is it possible you're a veg like me?

roxy said...

In my case, hurt comes before growth. Some critiques sting a bit but they usually make my story so much better. That sandwich recipe also sounds awesome!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I haven't hears schmear since I worked at the Grand Deli...so funny to hear that not refer to cream cheese and lox.

Good luck with your revisions!

jbchicoine said...

I don't have anything nearly so elaborate for helping me deal with critiques, but that looks like my kind of sandwich!

Carol Riggs said...

Oh, good for you, organizing your critiques! I'm impressed. I think I tend to tackle the easy stuff first, when really I need to jump on the big plot holes and probs. :) It kinda depends. No sense trimming the shrubs when you have to move some of them around to begin with. LOL

Krispy said...

That sandwich sounds delicious (minus the cilantro - one of the few things I don't like)! This might also be because it's close to lunch time for me, but I do also just LOVE sandwiches.

For dealing with difficult things though, my go-to is sweetness because in my case, my sweet tooth is MUCH larger than my salt tooth. :)

Good luck with revisions! Don't ask me about organizational tips because I am like the least organized person in the world.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Yummy sandwich!

Critiques can be painful, but they always make for a stronger MS. (I almost wrote sandwich. Oops!)

Sarah said...

I am, at this moment, awaiting revision notes. Beer helps them go down a little better, though that is, obviously, a coping assist to use sparingly. Good luck with your revisions, Lydia!

Ghenet said...

I'll usually read the critiques through and write the needed changes on a fresh copy of my manuscript pages. Then I'll step away for a day before digging in.

Good luck with your edits!

Old Kitty said...

A glass of wine. Or a long glass of drambuie with ginger ale.
:-) Depends on the "OUCH" factor!!
LOL!!!!

And lots of tissues to mop up my blubbing!

Take care
x

Catherine Denton said...

Haha. I love the idea of a revision sandwich! Thanks for the recipe.
My Blog

Dempsey Sanders said...

I have great admiration for you writers that have to revise, rework and re-edit, then submit with the possibllity you might still have to do it again. Now that sandwhich looks amazing and its certainly making me hungry, but still dont think that would be quite enough for me to get remotivated to do what you do. Great admiration for you Lydia. Hoping you have a great week.

M.B. West said...

Yep -- coffee for me. I try to let the comments settle for a day or two.

The Words Crafter said...

I hear Mary Poppins in my head now...

That sandwich does sound yum and yes, my salt tooth is MUCH larger than my sweet one :)

Good luck with the revisions {{{hug}}}.

Colene Murphy said...

YUM!!!! Good luck on your revisions. No luck needed for eating that sandwich I'm sure!

Maria Zannini said...

That sandwich sounds great!!

With crits, I do a quick scan and put them away for an hour and then go back to them. I find they're not quite so bad after my brain has had a chance to soak in some of the observations.

WritingNut said...

That sandwich look absolutely yummy! :) Good luck with your revisions!

Ciara said...

That sandwich looks yum! :)
I read over the crit and put it away for 24 hours. Then approach with stress ball and cup of coffee before I dig in. Good luck!

Jonene Ficklin said...

Oh, I'm all for rewards. (If it's good enough for kids . . . )
Last year, I bought the Snowflake Method software to use to outline a new WIP. I was asked to do a presentation, so, just for the fun of it, I did my new book, but I also went back and plugged in a previous book I was revising. It worked great! You can see your whole book, each scene, character descriptions/details, and near the end, there's a place for notes -- great for thoughts as you revise. It's helped a ton.

Hannah Kincade said...

What I've just started to do is put my ms on my ereader. It helps so much during a read through AND I'm saving paper!! I loves it.

That's just for the major plot and scene issues. The spelling and grammar mistakes need to be done with a red pen in front of me.

Critiques are hard but I write horrible first drafts so they are needed.

Jayne said...

Guacamole makes everything better. ;)

The Red Angel said...

For me, no matter what I'm dealing with, all I need is a box of Keebler's Coconut Dreams cookies and I'm all set. :)

Good luck with revisions, Lydia! Critiques can be hard to deal with, but they are also fun and very helpful.

~TAR

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Liza said...

There is a helpful post at the Blood Red Pencil today if you want to merge your critiquest:
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2011/03/consolidating-critiques-using-track.html.

Oh, and that sandwich would be lovely for me. I think I'm addicted to cilantro.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I'm in the same spot as you. I have my critiques and now I'm digging in. I'm ready for weeks of revisions, including some major plot changes. Good think I like revision.

Also, I must make your Revision Sandwich. Sounds perfect.

LTM said...

harsh crits usually drive me under the desk. But eventually I'll come out and start facing them. Then it's just a matter of whatever's handy... :D

That sandwich w/a schmear of guac and that cheese sounds DIVINE, though~ <3

Alleged Author said...

I do love a nice bottle of wine with my crits. :P

Hanny said...

I'm so dumb. I see sandwich in the post title and I'm feverishly clicking on it before I've finished the sentence. Thanks for another great post!

Phoenix said...

Honestly - you mentioned both already. Cheese and chocolate :)

Hema P. said...

I'm a considerable newbie at this, but the one thing I learned from diving in cold with my first mss is: ALWAYS outline. Otherwise, revisions will be longer and harder than the first draft :).

digillette said...

My writing group meets in a coffee shop that makes really fabulous cupcakes, so after every meeting, I always take home two cupcakes, one for my sweetie, and one for me. It will either be a celebration of a good critique or soothing my hurt pride after a harsh one. Either way, I get a cupcake!

Kari Marie said...

That sandwich looks GOOD.

My "go to" coping food is Frosting, cake is just a delivery method. :)

 
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