Revisions have always been for me something a little hard – for most writers, it’s easily to get attached to our characters and our plot and be too close to it, making it hard for us to see the bigger mistakes or what we need to change. Of course, nobody ever said it was easy! But as the Coldplay song goes – nobody said it would be this hard, either.
This time, revision round has been different – I tend to tackle my projects a month or so after they have been written, so when I come back to the story I’m not already fed up with it. This time I decided to do revisions only a day later than I finished – mostly because I’ve finally gathered the courage to look for CPs and exchange my manuscript, and I don’t want them reading anything that is completely crap. I’ve got about three other WIPs still – but this one was finished, and more importantly, it had been written in English. so instead of going back to any of my WIPs and working on them for a while, I decided to go back the next day for “The Siren’s Call.”
This was actually a good idea – although I felt a little tired of the story – as it ends up occuring, since I’ve spent the last two months and a half drafting it, I still had a fresh idea of what I wanted and why I started writing the story. I had just finished writing the plot and the details were still swimming around in my mind, which made it so much easier to revise and edit! Of course, most of it is far from perfect – but it still made me want to work hard so I could polish a decent manuscript to start exchanging.
Although the plot and the characters were fresh – and it was easier not to miss detail like ending up changing a secondary character’s eye colour halfway through – some of it was very hard to do. Especially plot-wise. There were so many details and sub-plots I had forgotten along the way and I had to go back all the way to the beggining to change it, or tweak a bit at the end until it all fell in place. Not to mention a very important scene that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about while I was drafting. No kidding – this is a book with a story about mermaids, and halfway trough, I’d actually left the mermaids behind and was completely oblivious to them as I plunged my way through to the end.
Of course, coming back to it I remembered and then it was a complete pain to get the feeling of the scene back and write that 3k words that were missing in the middle of the manuscript. After you are revising, it’s so hard to get back to actual writing like you were doing in the first draft, that it took me about two days to just sit my ass down in the chair and actually write it. It didn’t turn out to be one of my best scenes… but now at least there isn’t a gaping plot-hole in the middle of the story.
In conclusion, although revising right the moment after you’ve finished a manuscript is good and it can work for some things… I think the next time I’ll wait a bit more and start anew with the manuscript. Sometimes it’s better to start again with newfound will than just plunge your way through.
And now I leave you with my favorite revision guide ever written, by the lovely Susan Dennard – she has great advice for writing, and as I’m a little anxious and organized (at least about my manuscripts) her method worked perfectly fine for me.
How does revision go for you? What works and what doesn’t work – do you tackle plot or character first?