The talented Sarah Bromley started this round of the blog chain. Be sure to check out her blog and congratulate her on her recent success of signing with an agent–so exciting! CONGRATS, Sarah! Woot!!!!
How do you handle revisions? Do you revise as you’re writing, or do you wait until you’ve gone through beta readers and crit partners to revise? How soon after you finish do you begin your revisions?
For me, this question is quite timely. I spent the past seven months revising a manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2009. Because of numerous revisions, that thing doesn’t look ANYTHING like it used to. For realz. And I owe a HUGE thanks to all the betas who offered EXCELLENT advice! I humbly bow down to you ladies.
So what have I learned from the process? I’ve completely overhauled my approach to writing. Instead of gushing a story as fast as I can (I’ve written a novel in two weeks time x2), I am more mindful of what I write, where the plot goes, and how the characters respond to each other and their surroundings. I pay more attention to logistical details, motion, senses, and emotions. I TAKE THE TIME to enjoy the PROCESS of refining my ART.
Honestly, I did none of those things before. * blushes *
How did the revision process lead to such changes? Well, it was INCREDIBLY PAINFUL starting over every couple of months, breaking down my novel chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, word by word. (Yes, people, it was that intense.) I NEVER want to stumble and plod around like that again.
Don’t get me wrong. I am prepared to revise and hack my writing to bits if need be, but I figure if I try to take care of some things (like lost story arcs, plot holes, and wonky dialogue) as I go along, it’ll make later pass throughs smoother. (I hope!)
The creative bug bit me a few weeks ago and I am well into a new novel (more than 50%, I’d say). This time, I’m focusing on AUTHENTICITY, TENSION, CLEAN WRITING, and making my protagonist AND antagonist WELL-ROUNDED and THREE-DIMENSIONAL.
As far as the logistics go, I do revise what I’ve written the day before, smoothing tics here and there before I move on to the next chapter. If there’s a snag, I want it fixed before it turns into a tear. When I’m done with the draft, I’ll read it again, fix the things I can, and then send it to betas. While it’s out and away, I will do my best to leave it alone, give it some space, and then tackle it again, incorporating the feedback I’ve gotten.
There ya have it, folks. My work at the revision mill. How’s your experience with revising? Is it your friend or foe?