So…I promised a post on revision…
It’s interesting how perspectives can change, don’t you think? I know I’ve commented several times on the blog about my love of revisions. I really do love the revising process. Sending my manuscripts out to my agent, crit partner and editor is always a little scary, but what I know is, they’re going to look at it with fresh eyes, see the things that aren’t working, and help me to make my manuscript into the book I thought I wrote. It’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.
This is by far the toughest revision I’ve ever done, but here’s how I’m trying to approach it:
1. Tackle the big stuff.
I first go through and make all the big changes. If my feedback is that a plot point isn’t ringing true, I pull that section of my manuscript out into a separate document and have at it. I rip and tear until I’ve whipped it into submission. Likewise, if a character isn’t working, I pull his/her major sections out and revise away. Once I’ve made the revisions, I can figure out where the section fits back into the manuscript and revise around it, making sure all those puzzle pieces still fit together. If not, I revise some more.
2. Tackle the small stuff.
Once I have all the major issues worked out, then I can work on the smaller things, such as character development or point clarification. It makes sense to do these last, because if I do these things first, I’m likely to lose some of it in the major revisions. This is when you can layer in emotion or sharpen dialog to flesh out a character or clarify an event. These are easier, because they seldom entail any major rewriting.
3. Clean up/Polish
All the hard work is done, but, just like with any big construction project, now I've got scraps laying all over the place. I want to make sure the story is still consistent. I may have pulled my chainsaw out in step one, so I need to make sure when I put all those hacked up pieces back together into a whole, everything is in order and still flows. For example, a character can’t reference something that hasn’t happened yet.
So, yes. I have my chainsaw out for TNFKH. I am not enjoying these revisions as much as I may have hoped because getting all those pieces crammed into this puzzle in the first place was a trick, and if I pull one out, the whole thing will explode in my face. Wish me luck.