When your story doesn't work, try this revision technique

Published 12 months ago • 1 min read

Hi Bookfoxers,

Aliette de Bodard had a problem. She'd finished her fantasy novel "Master of the House of Darts" and given it to some beta readers, but they gave her ho-hum reactions.

They just didn't care about the story.

What could have been wrong?

She did a deep-dive back into her book, analyzing every fragment, and realized it was missing a key component.

In her story, a magical plague hits a city, but the plague never really threatened her protagonist, and therefore none of her readers felt there was danger.

She decided to "up the stakes," by escalating the plague:

  • She increased the number of deaths.
  • She focused on gross descriptions of the body ailments.
  • She made her protagonist suffer from it.

And when she gave this new draft to her beta readers, they LOVED it.

Folks, this is a perfect example of the process of revision.

  1. You figure out there's a problem.
  2. You name the problem.
  3. You revise to solve that problem.

If you're ready to revise your book, join me this Saturday, March 18th, for "Revision Genius: Self-Editing Your Novel."

When you send out your novel, you want to feel like it's your best work, and this bootcamp will give you that confidence.

This is an all-day live event where you'll get:

  • Insight into WHERE and WHAT to revise
  • Revision challenges so you can practice the techniques
  • LIVE editing on your manuscripts
  • Peer Review -- you'll get feedback from the others in the group
  • And I'll be answering all your revision questions

In these 20 modules we'll look at the big picture, look at the micro level, and equip you to create the best book of your life (huzzah!).

Find out more here:

Revision Genius


John Matthew Fox

PS. A lot of people have asked whether I'll be giving this seminar again. I don't have any plans for the future, but it will be recorded.


John Matthew Fox helps authors write better fiction. He is the founder of Bookfox, where he creates online courses for writers, provides editing and offers publishing assistance. He is the author of "The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel's Key Moments" and “I Will Shout Your Name,” a collection of short stories.

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