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Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor from Minnesota surprised to find myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three younger children (the oldest is attending college in Chicago), and two dogs.


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So what if instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.
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Winter Fun

Sign Advice and Revision Avoidance

Neil Gaiman Green Light Garage

We live on the south end of Bainbridge, so to reach town or school or the ferry, we take a road that winds its way up and down through thickly wooded hills and along the western edge of Eagle Harbor. Nestled between the road and the harbor is the Green Light Garage. And in their parking lot is a sign that dispenses wisdom to all who pass by.

The quotations usually tie in to whatever’s going on in the world at the time. Holiday and seasonal quotes usually, but sometimes it’s just random cool stuff like this one from Neil Gaiman. Every week, we look forward to seeing what the sign’ll say next.

Speaking of books, I’m trying to get back into the rhythm of revising the middle-grade book I’m supposed to be finishing up this summer. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo two years ago and really need to get it done so I can start sending out the manuscript. I was moving right along, doing a chapter a day, until Grandpa Tony passed away and we went back to Minnesota for the funeral. It was a crazy two weeks, but we’ve been home long enough for me to have transitioned back to revision mode. No more excuses.I know I need to just jump back in where I left off, and I will. Right after I post this. I’m also thinking it would be good to add a little structure to what I’m doing. The problem I have with revision is that since I’m the one who wrote the thing in the first place, warts and all, what do they expect me to do about it? I’m not talking about polishing–the opportunities to find a better word or phrase are overwhelmingly infinite. But how do I know if I got the big stuff like the plot right? I mean, if I would have had a better way to do it, wouldn’t I have written it that way in the first place?

Which is why it might be a good idea to fill out a plot checklist, like this one shared by children’s fiction editor Cheryl B. Klein. Maybe it’ll reassure me that the book’s basic structure is just fine, or help me see if it isn’t.

One last thing: since this all started with a Neil Gaiman quote, here are some of his thoughts about revision: “Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinions you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”

Do you have any ideas for revision? Maybe some tricks to make it fun? Or at least not such a slog?

 

 

 

 

 

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