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This Time, I Really Am Starting Revisions

First, I want to thank all the lovely peeps who gave me words of encouragement and advice, both in the comments of On To Revisions and on Twitter. You're all so kind and super helpful when a fledgling writer is lost, I can't thank you all enough.

SO. On to business. From all the advice, I gleaned a tidbit of information I was wondering about.

There is no special trick when it comes to revisions.

Sounds kind of "Duh," right? Well, when you look at it from the eyes of a writer just starting out, who's never had to edit or revise a 90K novel before, then it's a whole different view. With all the ways to outline, organize, and write the first draft, I'd begun to think there were specific methods to go about revising as well. Of course there are some different techniques - stickie notes, charts, reading aloud. But somehow, the revision process seems more like just a big mess of words only the writer can find rhyme or reason in. And, well, that's exactly what it is. With revisions, there's no real formula anyone can learn and follow. It has to be even more organic than writing the initial first draft.

Hence, no secret. So, what now?

Throughout this whole time writing, I was confident. I felt I knew the characters, the story was flowing, albeit a bit rocky in places, but it was going well. But this morning I was sitting here, with this quite thick manuscript beside me, wondering, "Where do I start?" And my little cry for help brought a flood of support from the interwebz. With help, I know it's time for me to stop moaning about the work ahead and dive in - I know once I start I'll enjoy it, because as long as I have a base or words, I can revise. Yeah, there'll be hard parts, but who said rewards came from doing things the easy way?

I haven't touched my manuscript for 3 weeks, which is 3 less than most professionals recommend, but I'm itching to work on it. I feel I have enough distance at this point, anyways - looking at the first page, I'm already seeing what needs to be cut. As I go through I'll be working on character, plot, world, the big stuff. I don't want to get lost in the little details, like one does when writing the thing to begin with.

So, I've got my big thunk of post it's, 8 different colored highlighters, black and red fine point RSVP Pentel pens (the only kind I'll have), a not-yellow legal pad, and I'm glaring at my manuscript instead of poking at it tenatively. I've divided it up into stacks of 50 pp, and will work input changes after each section. There's no need to rush this, so I'll take my time and really think about each thing.

Ok. It's time for me to get in my jammies, put on some Spongebob Squarepants, scrounge for snackage, and get to work!


  1. Anonymous says:

    may the force be with you.

    having completed two novels, i can safely say that, for me, revision is cake compared to getting my rough drafts on paper.

    good luck to you. you can do it!!!

  2. Excellent! May the hacking and slicing begin! I think you will find this to be a very rewarding stage of the process. Good luck!!

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