From idea to the finished product, writing a book is a different process and experience for everyone. And that’s how the world works, kids. ISN’T IT WONDERFUL?!?!?!?!?!?!!
I have been sharing how I tackle this beast of creating a manuscript to inform, to entertain…because I want to and it’s my blog.
Which brings us to the next step on the journey.
This is where the magic happens.
And by magic I mean selling your soul to the devil. I will admit that I like revisions better than drafting. All the blank space makes me panic, but having a chaotic mass of words, having something to dig my brain into makes me feel safe. But! It is a hair-pulling, tear-shedding process.
What to keep.
What to add.
What to move.
What to delete forever into the void…well, or just cut and paste it onto a different document because you might need it later.
Revising becomes a tangled web of questions. Some of which YOU JUST DON’T KNOW THE BEST ANSWER.
Does this scene move the story forward? I mean, it’s a cute scene, or a creepy scene, or a hilarious scene, but is it necessary. And if your word count climbed to levels of out-of-control, the question of what to delete becomes a nagging monster.
Did my characters grow and change?
Did the story balance dialogue, action, and exposition to get the pacing right?
Is there enough, but not too much, description?
Are the scenes in the best order?
Is the voice clear and intriguing?
DOES THIS MESS EVEN MAKE SENSE?
The process can leave you in a sobbing ball, wondering if you can even grammar at all.
From the big picture to the tiniest word. From character arcs to weeding out those pesky filler and filter words. From pacing to DO I USE A COMMA HERE OR NOT? From finding plot holes to destroying passive sentences.
Revisions is where you take that first draft and make it into SOMETHING.
I’ve seen people have multiple drafts saved as they revise (Final draft…the real final draft…no this one is the final draft, kinda thing). I do not. When I revise, I keep the newest version as the version, though I do have a file to save what I delete (more to keep me from panicking that I have cut the best part of the book, and less to actually use again, because I don’t usually).
I’ve seen scenes written on post-its and put on a wall, a visual reference to help with pacing and story-telling. I have never done this. I do write down the scenes (or at least what happens) in each chapter in a notebook so I can keep track.
Revisions, for me, is a gut reaction kinda thing. I go with what feels right. The scene doesn’t make sense? Get rid of it. Need a transition? Add one. This character needs more space to express feelings. Put that in. Add the special details that set the tone. Make sure I didn’t lose any characters along the way. Make sure to address the notes I left myself during drafting. You know the ones…the “dude, really? I think you can do better than that” notes. Or the “please and thank you check on who said this earlier” notes.
I pull the story together the best I can. Reading. Rereading. Checking. Adding. Deleting.
I am about to enter the land of revising. Today. The time-out is over. Nowhere, I’m coming for you.