Revisions: World-building

Another month gone! Spring is on the way and I can hardly believe it! Of course, the arrival of March means I’m woefully behind on my revision goals already. Not for lack of incredible notes from my CP’s! Lack of time is the culprit: it’s busy season at work, and Kiwi is still a puppy, and we’re planning to move again (yes, again) because our commute is a horrendous 45 minutes each way.

In short, although I’ve done some brainstorming and planned a few key changes to improve my manuscript, I’ve had very little time to touch it. Instead, I thought this post could be about the world-building notes I received. I’ll leave the interpretations of Maggie Stiefvater’s beautiful tarot cards up to you this time. Let’s get started!

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Of course when you’re constructing your world (whether it’s a high school or a continent of kingdoms) you have a list of things to figure out. Social hierarchy, locations, perhaps also how government works, and magic, and the politics between nations and people. But when all of that’s done, it’s not over–now you need to fill in the cracks!

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There are two kinds of cracks that can tear your world apart:

You didn’t answer all the questions your readers will have!

This is simple to fix–you’ve read your own story multiple times. YOU know what you want to happen and how everything effects everything else. But maybe you forgot that when Suzie came inside she’d been out in the rain. Why isn’t her hair wet? And wouldn’t her mother say something about it since she was supposed to be studying in her room? You didn’t notice because it’s imperative for Suzie to fool her mother or the next pin in your plot collapses, but you need to find a more believable way for that to happen now.

You do have the answer but you didn’t put it in there!

Congratulations, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board! You just need to include the information you already worked so hard to cultivate. I am especially guilty of this once I’ve gone through a draft a few times. I’ve caught the cracks, but now that I answered them for myself, I forget to sprinkle the answers in for everyone else. YOU know the secret history of Suzie and her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, but the few references you made are confusing and don’t convey what you wanted. Just find a way to add and clarify the information readers need.

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With good notes from beta readers and critique partners, you’ll have no trouble discerning where your cracks are and how to fix them. I’ve found each of my critiques gave me something both similar and different (everyone agreed on the issues but had different ideas of how to fix them). It’s wonderfully inspiring and takes the sting out of revising for what may feel like the hundredth time!

Good luck!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erinkbay
    Mar 11, 2016 @ 20:48:12

    Amanda, you are so wise!!! *applause*!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Madeleine Colis
    Mar 13, 2016 @ 20:36:02

    You’re moving??? Ahhh that’s exciting!! Hope you find somewhere lovely for you two and Kiwi 😛 and good luck with world-building! I can’t wait to read :)))

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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