Thursday, March 17
Getting past the stars
For me, revision is an ongoing process. When I get done with my book and finally write "the end", it will be the best I can do at that point. I will then ship it off to a couple of beta readers and after their comments, make the final adjustments, and then it will be sub-ready. And only after I get advice from a professional as to where I should change it, will I do any major revisions.
The truth is, I know that I don't always recognize what's wrong. I think everything I write is good when I'm writing it--otherwise, why write it?? In my head, my manuscript looks a little like the picture...all stars and light, everything good.
Now I know that's not realistic and true, and that's exactly why I have trusted critique partners and beta readers.
I'm not the kind of writer who can spin words out just to get them on the paper and then go back to make corrections after the book is finished. Frankly, I don't have the patience or time to rewrite a book several times. I actually walked out of a workshop that encouraged this method. Sorry, Hallie Ephron, but that's just not my style.
Before my chapter "first draft" goes to my critique partners, I've tinkered with it several times. I get back their comments and make changes accordingly--usually adding in some descriptive detail and fixing a major guffaw (Why are they loading metal poles onto helicopters? Good question, Christi, why are they?). Sometimes these questions and comments make me clear up confusion or simply rethink plotlines (Could a train come through Cypher once a month and not cause a lot of problems?). And these changes only serve to enhance my story.
Without all those partners (past and present), I'd still be scribbling in a notebook and dreaming of being a writer. I'm still dreaming but at this point I'm taking steps toward to making that dream an actualization. And that's what revision is all about.