Planning a trip to Revisionland? Or maybe you’ve taken a wrong turn on the road to publication, and found yourself wandering through its deserted wastelands and brain-sucking swamps. Either way, you don’t want to be caught ill-equipped. Revisionland is hazardous for even the most experienced writers, and careful preparation is crucial if you plan on making it out alive.
The US ARMY SURVIVAL MANUAL tells us we need to remember one word when faced with life-threatening situations, like those you most certainly will encounter in Revisionland.
S – Size up the situation – Read through that revision letter more than once. Get a feel for it. Does it weigh more or less than two pounds? Can you stuff it under your clothes to protect yourself against the cold? Can it double as a seat on the hard ground? Enough paper will keep a fire going for hours. The uses for a good, solid revision letter are countless.
U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste – Smell burning? That’s your brain. Double vision? Back away from your monitor. Can’t feel your fingertips? You may be intoxicated. And remember, if you hurry through too fast, you’ll inevitably have to start over.
R – Remember Where You Are – One step at a time, that’s the way to slog through the overgrown swamplands of Revisionland. Don’t try to take on too much at once. Plot your course and stick to it. And if you fall into a hole, hold tight. Don’t panic. Scream loudly. Help is on the way.
V – Vanquish Fear and Panic – Scratch previous tip. Don’t scream. Find a tall stick. Remove clothing and attach to the end of said stick, then hoist it above ground. If no one comes within an hour, light it on fire. Rescuers will be drawn to the smoke. Remember: panic affects your ability to make smart decisions. Breathe, and form a plan.
I – Improvise – You wouldn’t be in Revisionland if you weren’t creative. Use the tools you have around you. You can make an explosive out of only a handful of common household items. If you get trapped, just blast your way out. Or turn someone into a vampire. Vampires can be very helpful (they have excellent night vision, amongst other skills).
V – Value Living – Whatever you do, do not give into the overwhelming, seemingly insurmountable peril of Revisionland. You think Frodo would have given up? Think he would have been swayed by the power of the ring? Not a chance.
A – Act Like the Natives – Think it’s best to lock yourself in a bunker with ten tons of Reece’s products and an IV of caffeine? Think again. The average American can live only 81 hours on caffeine and chocolate. And then they die.* Follow the lead of your fellow survivalists. Hunt substantive food. Locate a water source. Speak the common language. Observing the universal laws is the only way you’re going to make it out of Revisionland.
L – Learn Basic Skills – Be prepared before you enter Revisionland if at all possible. Create a map. Begin training for CPR and management of hyperventilation. Stockpile food that increases energy and endurance. Exercise. And remember, you’ve built a world out of nothing, you can survive Revisionland.
*Studies pending approval by IRB.