Monday, October 12, 2009

Revisions: Tweezers and Wrecking Balls



            Since I am knee deep in revisions, I thought I’d take a break and talk about that for a moment. Let me start by saying, I am a newbie. This is my first novel. When I started the process, I hadn’t taken a single class, read a single style or writing guide, nor did I remember much of what my English teachers said about quotation marks, commas, or periods.
            I was oh-so-proud (ya’ll member) to finish my first draft. I sent it off to a friend, who lovingly pointed out how horrible my grammar was (God love her!) and caught many holes. I fixed everything she said – and then Ta-Da! It’s finished. Hoorah! Build query letter, and off I went to write book number two.
            But then I began to do my homework. I inhaled copyright laws, proper first chapters, Elements In Style, Stephen King’s On Writing, fiction workshops, pitch workshops, critique groups. Then I came back to book one. My reaction… (wait for it) … OMG! This thing needs serious work.
            Shock, huh? I didn’t appreciate the value in revision. I was afraid of it. It intimidated me to think about re-writing things that I had already labored over. But this new epiphany clued me into what writers much further down their path already know, it has to be done. You must revise, and your story will only grow as a result. If you are afraid to change things or admit that your manuscript needs work, it will sit on your hard drive and will not ever land on an agent’s desk.
            I took a wrecking ball to chapter one, threw my much loved prologue in the trash, added five new scenes, one deliciously evil, new character (read previous post), a nice POV switch, removed probably a thousand adverbs – apparently I’m addicted, and I’m only up to chapter 15 out of a total of 30. Woohoo!
            And you know what; I’m loving it. I haven’t had this much fun since, well, I wrote the first draft. It’s hard at times to kill your darlings, but I save each draft in case I can use it in the future. Alright, enough rambling – back to revisions.


3 comments:

  1. Good for you Girl! Revision is a serious bitch, but so necessary.

    I actually had to get started on my second novel before I realized how much work the first one still needed. And, I'd already sent that out to some publishers. Not agents.

    Funny the things you learn during that second novel!

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