Monday, June 14, 2010

The revision process

I find the writing process to be almost relaxing. I settle in, throw on some appropriate music, and set my mind to the specific scene that I am writing. I love this part of the process. Then the relaxation melts away and I enter the revision process...

To me, revising is like exercise. There are many that enjoy it, maybe even love it, but most of us hate it. The rewards are similar - a tight product (body or manuscript). But the process to get to the tightness is grueling. Trainers will often say that your body aches because you are changing the muscle. I guess that is why revisions are so damn painful - you are changing, toning, buffing up your WIP until you could be proud walking around naked, or eh - in your writing I mean. :) . We polish until we are ready to bare our souls to agents/editors/publishers.

So I am interested. Tell me your revision process. Is it as painful for you? Check out my process below and let me know if yours is similar.

My current process:

I fast draft my 1st draft, for the most part. But I am a peeker. Like one of those kids that has to search out her presents before Christmas. I neeeed to see, to know, what I have done. So I check back, review and make minor edits to chapters as I go along. This inability to move on is why my current WIP's Ch.1 is on it's 6 millionth revision.

After I finish draft 1, I set it aside for about 2 weeks. Then I pick it back up and start with chapter one, shaping the ARC, flushing out my plot, tweaking my voice until the chapter looks failry clean. I do not line edit at this point unless something is staring me down with an evil eye. I continue through the first quarter of my book. Then I reread that quarter for flow. If everything looks pretty then I move on to the next quarter, continuing the above until I have completed the book.

Once I have completed draft 2 (which honestly is more like 2 or 3 drafts) I line edit the entire book using a red pen and a print-out.

I let it sit for 2 weeks. Then I reread.

Tell me your story.

M.B.

6 comments:

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere, Melissa! Followed your link here from the Blueboards.

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  2. Hi Anne! Thanks for the welcome. It's good to be here. :)

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  3. Hi Melissa! Your blog looks great. I haven't done much revising for a while, since I'm waiting for the summer when I have more time. But one thing I do is put my novel aside for a while. This time, my novel will have rested for about three months (and collected some critiques) before I begin revisions.

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  4. Congratulations on your new blog, Melissa!
    I am a compulsive revise-as-I-go writer, so I generally start every day by revising what I wrote the day before. It would probably be good to stop doing this, because it takes months to crank out that first draft, but I can't resist. Besides, it gets me in the mood to continue my story, and that's a good thing.

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  5. Welcome to blogland!
    I write my first draft. As I reread while I add to it, I do revise here and there, but not much. I give it to my critique group. Make some changes afterwards. Set aside, get some more readers. Change some more. Fine tooth comb it. And that is that.

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  6. Thanks for the welcome.

    It amazes me how many different styles of revising we all have.

    Andrea - I think setting the novel aside is a great idea, especially if you are not involved in a critique group. It is kind of refreshing don't you think? You come back to it and think "wow" this is pretty good. :)

    Vonna - I semi revise the way you do. I have to force myself to keep my internal editor in check during my first draft. It takes me about 2 months to write a 70K novel and this is only because I am able to quiet my inner editor from driving me crazy on active/passive, overuse of throw words, etc.

    Kelly - I wish I felt so comfortable with my 1st draft to edit as you do. I am jealous! My 1st Draft needs extensive work in order to make it "presentable" to my crit group/partner. :)

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