Revision

I was scribbling in my journal the other day, trying to work through why I hate revision so much. And I think I’ve made some headway.

I’ve rambled a bit about my ~process~ before. I’m a pantser and don’t take kindly to outlines. I fly by landmarks. How I get there? I have no idea. I just know I do. I’m a discovery writer. I like finding out how things work and how they fit together.

That said, I am also a serial rewatcher and rereader. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the Princess Bride. Or read Robin McKinley’s Beauty. My husband found me a used copy when it was still out of print because I’d read the poor thing so many times it had lost its cover and it was in three separate parts. I squealed and then cried. Incidentally, that book is what clinched it for me. I wanted to be a writer if when I grow up.

Anyway. So, I reread and rewatch things. I notice new things and enjoy the familiarity. Why shouldn’t revision be like that too? I’m falling back into the story, finding the seeds I’d planted and forgotten to water, and then making them bloom too. I’m getting back into the story and finding what I’d forgotten, seeing new things, realizing the foreshadowing I’d put in even before I’d realized it was happening. ALL KINDS OF FUN THINGS. So why do I hate it?

Well, it’s hard. It sucks to realize a passage you worked so hard on is garbage and all going in the rubbish bin. It takes a lot more focus to stay with it. When I’m writing, I fall into the world and just let it come out. But when I’m revising, I have to keep an objective distance. I just can’t fall in and read the story. So, I have to keep my distance and the trouble with that is my goldfish brain. I’ll get distracted and wander away.

But. I feel like it’s coming along. I feel like there’s a start there. It’s something I can do. I’ve been working on The Defiant Canary and it’s good and hard. I’m sending chapters to my beta readers as I finish them and so far the reports are good. I think I just need to work out these last kinks and things will be okay.

I feel like I finally got a map of Khazad-Dûm loaded on my phone. And Herbert, the polite British gentleman who likes to interrupt my jamming to Hamilton with driving directions, is telling me where to go. I’m not so lost. So, that’s rad, af.

What blocks have you worked through? And how? Writing is hard and weird and solitary. Sharing our tips will only make us stronger and better.

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