Thursday 31 March 2011

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions

After coming down from my Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award high, I got back to work. At the moment I'm giving urban fantasy a break, and am concentrating on writing the first draft of my new novel If Life Gives You Lemons and revising Storms in Teacups for submission.

Why is revising so hard? When I was a kid and dreamed of being a writer, I thought you wrote the story from beginning to end, and that was it. Done. How I wish it were so.

The hard part for me about revision is that it means rereading my own work. And sometimes that's okay. I find blocks of text that are much better than I thought, dialogue I laugh out loud at, (it's sad to admit you find your own books amusing, isn't it?) and that part is quite good for oul' ego. However, there are still bits that require yet more work, and that I think are awful. And that is, quite frankly, disheartening.

What's especially difficult about this revision, is that it's for the Final Draft (cue scary music). In my previous edits, if something wasn't flowing I didn't stress about it too much. I reckoned that I could sort it out in another edit. But as this is my final one, I have to iron out every little snag so I can send it out into the world.

To this end I took out a roll of Christmas paper, unrolled it on the living room floor, and started to write out the main plot points and characters in a selection of brightly coloured Sharpie felt tip pens. Not very dignified, but the best I can do until I can afford to buy a white board. I feel a lot better now, I've clarified some of the most important elements of the story in my head which was good.

How do all you other writers out there cope with the editing process?


  1. Ha! I like your Xmas Paper rollout plotting devise. I happen to love revision. But, yes, I agree that final revisions are nerve-wracking, because you're down to very precision "surgery" and not just the big, easy cuts.
    As for tools, I've used Scrivener to plot, and for those polished revisions I always print the mss out and read it, a lot of it aloud.

  2. I've heard plotting is a great way to do writer/revise. A writing group helps me with my revisions--they pretty much tell me that I HAVE to do it, so I'm sad for a little bit, say in my head "No I won't do it", then soften after a while, realize they're right, and do it.