The care and feeding of julenisse & Revision Tip #22

All work in the Forest today will grind to a halt as we enjoy the ceremonial viewing of Elf. And we might even make spaghetti with maple syrup.

I got to thinking about my family’s tradition of setting out rice pudding for the julenisse. Nisse have been around long before Christmas celebrations. English words that describe them as elves, or gnomes; I’ve seen "pixie," too. If properly cared for, nisse will watch out for your farm animals, your house, and your barn. If you don’t take care of them, they will cause all kinds of mischief on your property.

Nisse are low-maintenance creatures. All they require is a bowl of rice pudding (risengrød) set outside your door or in your barn on Christmas Eve. We’ve always done this faithfully and I think our nisse appreciate it.

But as the sun was setting yesterday and I was lighting candles in honor of the solstice I realized that the nisse have been around a lot longer than Christmas celebrations. Ack! Have I been disrespecting the nisse all these years? They are ancient creatures… do they wait, forlorn, on the night of the winter solstice, their tummies grumbling, while the Big People go about their ignorant business? And when the pudding FINALLY shows up on Christmas Eve, do they call up the other nisse and complain?

So last night I put out rice pudding for them. And I will again on Christmas Eve. You can’t be too careful with nisse.

Revision Tip #22

Are you sure that you’ve chosen the right point of view for your novel?

Take your favorite chapter and rewrite from a different POV; shift from third to first, or first to third, or if you are bold and way smarter than me, experiment with the second person POV.

Or…. (and…..) fool around with the tense structure. If your story is told in present tense, rewrite that favorite chapter in past tense. If you’ve written the whole thing in past tense, try out that chapter in present tense.

What’s the point of all this mucking around? It helps you see your characters and the Story from a slightly altered perspective.

6 Replies to “The care and feeding of julenisse & Revision Tip #22”

  1. I did this with the novel I’m writing (well, revising) now. I started writing it in first person present tense. That didn’t work, so I switched to first person past tense. That still didn’t seem right, so I switched again to third person past tense, and finally that did the trick. Luckily I’d only written about a chapter and a half.

    And I want to thank you sincerely for posting these revision tips this month. I’m currently in the process of revising a novel, and they’ve been fantastic and very helpful.

  2. gnomes

    So now we know why the Weasley family had such problems with yard gnomes. They never left rice pudding out for them. hummmmmmm interesting…….. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  3. Great tips! I just did that with my fantasy novel recentlyin. One of the POV’s wasn’t working so I switched it up and it works a whole lot better.
    Have a great holiday, Laurie!

  4. Hi Laurie, I just sat down and read all of your revision tips and they are all very helpful to keep in mind, even though I am just starting out. I have character maps and summaries and I know where I want to go (vaguely…I tend to follow characters at times but I do have a basic plot line) but I have issues with starting out in general. I know you are doing revision tips at the moment but any tips for starting out? I have a strong Prologue, but I’ve read and re-read and edited my first chapter several times and I just cannot be happy with it all. I even put it on the back shelf for a month while I did finals and the holidays, and I just re-read it, and I still hate it. Any ideas?

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas (a few days late!)

    ~Lauren

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