Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thing #1 I Learned about Revision

I finally turned my revisions in to Michael, and so I thought it'd be fun to do a series of posts about things I learned along the way. 

To start things off:

Thing 1: I can't rely on dreams for book ideas.

It's often the first question someone asks a writer: "Where do you get your ideas?"

For me, the answer is, I have no idea. But I'll tell you where they don't come from: My dreams. Some authors can transcribe dreams about sparkly vamps in a meadow, word for word, and turn them into best-sellers. Not me.

I fell asleep as I was brainstorming ideas for a book I haven't written yet. (Part of my assignment from my agent). As I slept, I dreamed the following:

I go to the store, and - on a whim - buy a little boy, about 4 inches tall. We bring him home, and put him in a hamster cage. After a few years, the boy grows too big for his cage, but we still keep him in it for fear that if we let him out, it would mean we have a third child, and I never wanted a third child. 

When guests would come over, we'd throw a sheet over the cage, because it would be awkward if  -- during the salad course -- they noticed we kept a three-year old boy in a hamster cage.

Needless to say, this is not what I turned into my agent. Unfortunately the strangest thing about the dream is the fact that I made a home-cooked meal and actually invited guests over to share.

As you can see, I get no inspiration from dreams.

So, my first revision tip would be: Expect to do your best work when you're awake.

What are some of your revision tips?


  1. I write contracts mainly, so my revision advice would be to ALWAYS double check numbers and sub consultant agreements! You never want to miss an exclusion!

  2. Una- very smart to double check stuff. Last revisions, I sent my agent an old version of the manuscript. He read the entire thing before he realized, "Hey, nothing's different." I felt so stupid.

  3. Since I still don't have a full first draft, I, also, am forced to talk about work, where I revise memoranda and briefs. I've learned that a second pair of eyes is always helpful to catch the typos, etc, that your own brain skims over because, hey--I know what I mean!

    So, no book about tiny pet children will be forthcoming as Brodi Ashton's sophomore novel? So sad!

  4. I can't transcribe my dreams word for word, or idea for idea--but they often have interesting stuff for interpretation!

  5. I think your dream is so a best-seller! I can't believe you didn't write a book about it!

  6. Ha! Even your dreams are hilarious.

  7. Robin- A book about tiny cage children actually sounds pretty good. Dystopian, right? that's so hot right now.

    Tamara- If only I knew how to interpret dreams...

    Jenni- I know! It's such a good hook, right?

    Keersten- Hilarious to me. Not to the little boy.

  8. Brodi, you are a hoot. Did the little guy get a hampster wheel? Please say yes, or was he all crammed into the corners with square wire indents in his skin? Maybe if you provided your agent with more details he could get the big picture. He he.

  9. A hamster wheel! hehehehe :)

    Make sure character names are consistent!! Boggles the mind how many PUBLISHED books out there have spots where the character's name changes!

  10. Your dream sounds like a book Neil Gaiman would write, though, and look at all the awards he's won. So maybe you should use those dreams after all!

  11. I have no revision advice... but I'm with you on the weird dreams! The other night I dreamed about a wedding dress made entirely out of crispy bacon.

    ...maybe you could give the dress to your cage boy to nibble on when he gets hungry. At least it would keep him quiet during the salad course.