Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Revision vacation...

...is going twice as long as I figured it would.

Monday was my first day hitting the revision. First I took my pen and marked up the first four chapters, keeping my list of 'overall' notes close at hand. I marked the pages and then set to retyping the whole thing over again (that's right, I'm retyping the whole novel and adjusting phrasing and using the notes while I'm doing it).

Thanks to my illustrious readers...there's not a scene going untouched.

Most of the heavy lifting is actually happening at the beginning, where I have to plant more of the seeds that I use later.

But I figured that I could do about four chapters yesterday, considering I had a huge block of hours rather than minutes. Oh no. I only got two chapters finished. At this rate I won't be done until the end of next week...but unfortunately, I don't have the block of hours next week.

Still, I will perservere. Now that I know the approximate time to do things, I can adjust the schedule accordingly. I think I have a new plan now...and I'm ahead by a couple chapters of marking up--which was the big time taker. So I can jump straight into the typing bit. My goal on my sheet is six chapters today...and I think I can do it, or at least hit close to it.

For those of you wondering why I'm aiming for such big numbers, I'll tell you it's because I'm taking the advice of readers flat-out. I think I have the solutions for most of the issues that came up.

Funny story: I was going to fight Mary on one point in the opening chapter--where I have Anica trying to beat in three doors. She writes in the margin something along the lines of:
1. front door
2. side door
3. back door
4. back to the side door--the beating of doors is getting tedious
Because she was the only one who marked that on paper, I was going to ignore her. Then I was retyping and going "My God! This is long. I'll try Mary's thing." And I cut out the back door.

It's soooo much better now. I can't emphasize how strange it is that one little change can bump something up a few notches. The intensity made more sense--no break between the side door being locked and the necessity of throwing a cinderblock. It just moves and that's awesome.

You just can't see things sometimes. Luckily, I'm also at a point in the revision stage where I can't see what else to do to make it better (lucky? how's that lucky?). It means that I can do the work in colder blood. Look at the piece with new eyes and make the fixes a little faster because I'm not fighting everyone's ideas. I can use them objectively. And the retyping thing makes me read every single word again.

Moral of the story: listen to your first readers. They are the ones you tortured with your creation and what they have to say will make it less torturous for future generations.

3 comments:

  1. Go, Jenny, go!

    I think you may find that things also move quicker once you're in the groove.

    Good luck.

    BTW, the code word for this entry was nessical. I'm thinking it's a musical about the Loch Ness monster. How fun would that be?

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  2. Whew, talk about heavy lifting. You are totally rocking & rolling. I'm sending oodles of happy revisey thoughts your way. Power through, my sistah. Power through.

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  3. Good juju on those revisions, Jenny. Remember, you're almost there...

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