Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Lonely World of Revisions

I've been hiding away in my writing hole for the last month, working hard on revisions to my WIP. Early in December, I had the opportunity to have it read and critiqued by a professional editor. With much fear and trembling, I waited through Christmas and New Years for his reply. When it finally came in early January, I was thrilled to receive ten pages of notes on his thoughts. Wow, ten pages!

He had a lot to say. He pointed out what I was doing right, and what worked (yay!). Then he graciously showed me where my weak spots were, and what I needed to change in order to make it a marketable book.

The changes were big. Basically, the whole first half needed big changes. Which I kind of already knew, but needed someone to explain WHY it wasn't working. Which he did! I knew he was right about everything he said. But did I have the guts to rip it apart, once again, and make it better?

Of course. That's what we writers do. To help me summon my courage, I picked up a couple of books on editing and flipped through them. I found this quote:

"Keep working. Keep trying. Keep believing. If you don't have calluses on your soul, this isn't for you. Take up knitting instead." -D. Eddings

YES!!! Isn't that the truth!

So, I braced my soul and began to rip and tear. I tried wrapping my head around each scene, and figure out what should stay and what needed to go. I tried a computer program that was supposed to make it easy, but after two hours of pulling my hair out, I gave up and tried an old fashioned method. Here's what I did.

And it worked! I wrote out every scene, and stuck it on my bedroom window. (Note the snowy back yard....nice backdrop, isn't it?) Then I re-arranged to my hearts content, knowing that I could always stick a scene back in if I needed to, without worrying that I'd lost it in cyber space.
I liked being able to see every scene all at once, and really got an idea of where the book was lagging, and what scenes weren't driving the plot forwards.

My husband walked in and laughed at me.
My daughter walked in and said, "Now you're a real writer. You've gone crazy."
True, that.

We must be crazy to rip and tear at our babies until they resemble nothing of their original state. Over, and over, and over again.

However, when that baby gets brand new arms and legs, it starts looking better. Prettier. More interesting. And that's what keeps us going, isn't it? The promise, the potential. The possibilities.

Don't give up!


Elle Strauss said...

Love your new blog! Also your bedroom window, love what you've done with it! It's amazing what you can see when you lay it all out like that.

Wendy said...

Hey, way to go! The window is a great idea. I used recipe cards on the living room floor once. No one but me appreciated it, but it sure helped. I like to think of re-writing as polishing. Yep, makes it prettier. Keep at it Val :oD