Saturday, June 26, 2010


Tonight, I began revising.

I always thought I'd hate the revision process. I thought it maybe was a waste of time unless directed by a professional editor. And I've read brilliant manuscripts before that were rendered completely lifeless by overzealous revision.

But I like polishing. It's fun to discover what I've written that's good, fix what's boring, and make the writing beautiful. It's also a rather intense, creative process that involves going beyond "what happens next" to "and how do they feel about that?" and "what are they experiencing with their senses that I want the reader to experience, too?".  Plus it's much MUCH easier to pick up and put down with distractions, so it's more conducive to work while mothering than drafting is.

So tonight I started. In the first half hour, I turned one chapter into three and cut 600 words. And the beginning is SO much stronger now.  I find that sometimes I try too hard to justify an action. When the story is "right," it just comes quickly and easily, without a lot of tedious explanation or justifying motivation. It makes sense, it flows naturally, and it doesn't get bogged down in details. And the previous first two chapters (now the first 4--this is why my rough drafts have no chapter numbers anymore. I got sick of changing them all down the line every time I divide or combine) were definitely bogged down.

I have struggled with the first chapter of this novel for YEARS. I had to get the heroine to turn a key and walk through a door, and I used an number of reasons over the years to make her do this. FINALLY this revision, it flowed. 600 words shorter, more compelling, and she didn't have to be coerced through the door (and we readers no longer have to be coerced to keep reading. Whew!). She just opened it. I mean, really--how hard is it to get a character to walk through a door? Sheesh.

So now I have to decide: Is it okay to explode a dog, or not?

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