August 12, 2009

Great Place to Revise: Bookstores

Revising is exciting. I keep telling myself that anyway. The first thirty minutes or so are enjoyable, but then I get bogged down in a character issue or weak dialog. I can't seem to keep myself editing for more than an hour and a half straight.

Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble in the mall to do my revisions. The change of scenery was just what I needed! I browsed some books to get myself in the right place mentally, then sat down at a little table and spread my work out in front of me. I worked for an hour and a half straight. There are a couple of fun little things about doing my work in the bookstore, rather than at home:

1) I'm surrounded by people who love books. I love hearing people comment on what they see on the shelves, or watch how they move from subject to subject. This lady came to collect her husband, telling him she was done and they could go, but when she saw the bookshelf next to him, she became interested in some craft books.

2) The music can be inspiring. When I first arrived, some teeny-pop songs I had never heard before were playing. This is great, since I'm writing young adult.
Then, it gradually changed to some very old-fashioned music. An older gentleman who sat nearby hummed quietly along with "You Are My Sunshine". It was so cute! What's particularly wonderful about this is that the guy was right around the age of a couple of characters I was editing. (Talk about coincidence.) I added "You Are My Sunshine" to my book because of this. I think it adds nice detail to the characters.

3) I can test the markets while I work. A girl (maybe 15 years old) came in with her mom and began sifting through some books on display. She said, "I'm so tired of vampire novels."
Seriously. She said that.

Now, I do my share of research. Not a lot of marketing, but I get bits and pieces. Vampires are still (surprisingly) very popular. I've been under the impression that they'll soon be on the decline. (There are SO many vampire books out right now, the market is flooded.) But, hearing it from a potential future customer was so cool! Think of all the things I might pick up on if I go there regularly. I'll definitely hang out in the teen section more often.

By the way, according to my sources, zombies are going to be the next big thing in teen fiction. (Who knew?) I'll probably shy away from this trend, but it's good to know.

Other conveniences:
It's close, there's food and hot chocolate if I need a break but I'm not ready to go home, I have the whole mall at my disposal, and I can pick up a book if I feel so inclined. (That last one may be a little dangerous to my pocketbook.) :)


Olivia said...

lol, I refuse to write vampires because I'M sick of them! Interested in your editing techniques, are you working on a laptop or making notes on a printed copy first? Can't wait to see the changes!

Olivia said...

there's a link to a blog on my blog, to Bridget Asher. That is Julianna Baggot's pen name. Her most recent post on writing when you're not writing, contains some gems I heard in class with her...I think you might find some of the advise in it interesting.

Unknown said...

I'm using Holly Lisle's techniques for revising. A simplified version can be found here:

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