Let the Revision Begin!

Conventional writerly wisdom says one should wait weeks or even (gasp!) months between finishing a first draft and starting revisions. But, dammit, I couldn’t wait that long.

Yes, Prrrrecious, I’m back….

The fact of the matter is I love to edit. I enjoy the process.

Really.

It’s the original story creation I find difficult. I’m hoping it’s like a muscle that I can exercise. Toward the end of my first draft, I do think it started to turn that way, and since I plan to continue this writing gig, I’m sure I’ll discover the truth of it eventually for myself.

My first draft is a mess, what with all the changes I made in plot, worldbuilding, and characters as I wrote. However, now that I have something to work with, I feel a little like a mad scientist: “We’ll take a bit of this and a bit of that and sew it all together…”

Er, maybe not.

I’m revising while taking a revision course, Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel, which I highly recommend.

Holly’s approach — oh, how to describe it to do it justice? She’s a “sideways-thinker” and so many of the exercises are fresh and exciting. But, to make my practical side happy, it’s also systematic and thorough.

Just in the first week, I see my story from a different point of view and it makes a huge difference. New ideas are bouncing around in my head and I’m feeling ever so creative. Which is a far cry from the wish to bang my head against the table most times I sat down to write.

Believe it or not, I’m having fun.

Which do you prefer, writing or editing? Has your preference changed over time? Does it get easier?

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13 comments on “Let the Revision Begin!

  1. I found the more times I worked through Holly’s process of editing, the easier it became to write the next first draft, because I was already thinking of the editing steps.

    If you love editing, I am happy to offer my first drafts for your expertise! 🙂

    Keep having fun.

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    • E.K. Carmel says:

      Lol! I’ll be a beta reader, but not of a first draft, thank you very much! Of course, I’m thinking about how bad mine is – I’m sure your first drafts are much better.

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  2. curiocat says:

    Good luck on your revising. I hope to be there myself one day. 😉

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  3. Writing and editing are so different activities, I can’t say which i prefer because it largely depends on the mood I’m in at the time. My last book was written in full 3 times plus lots of messing about before hand. But that’s largely because it was such a mess of a story so in the end i gave in and wrote it as a mess. I tend to write in the morning and edit at night, so when am in serious writing mode, i get into a real rhythm with it, making sure i take a break in the middle – go for a walk, meet a friend etc. to break the cycle, get a fresh view on the thing,. try Stephen King’s book on writing – the essence of it is that it can’t be taught. i think the only way to learn is to read lots. if your head is full of other peoples’ words, you will find a way to generate your own. like building up a huge library to dip into, but unconsciously. cheers and good luck.

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    • E.K. Carmel says:

      Thank you, Barb!

      It seems every writer has their own process, and I love hearing each person’s take on this. I’ve heard about Stephen King’s book, but have yet to read it. I really must, one of these days.

      You said something that interests me: “…it was such a mess of a story so…I wrote it as a mess.” I know you write historical non-fiction, and I love how in real life the truth can get so convoluted and isn’t a nice, tidy plot. Many times truth really is stranger than fiction!

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      • all my other books have been reasonably logical, but ‘The Big World of Mr Bridges’ Microcosm’ just wouldn’t fit into any sort of order, as there were so many pieces to it that didn’t link up but that needed to be told. Also, there were so many gaps in the story that I had to work with, so this was a very unusual case. You can see the opening chapters of it on the authonomy website to give you an idea of what it looks like. It’s also the sort of inspiration for this site – just putting stuff out there and seeing what happens, since the micro book seems to work, then I guess maybe this one does too.

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        • E.K. Carmel says:

          I checked out the Authonomy site and read a bit of “Mr. Bridges’ Microcosm” and was fascinated by this wonderful machine (for lack of a better word) and by Henry himself!

          I can see what you probably meant by it being a mess – going back that far, there’s bound to be gaps in the historical record. I liked your writing as it was clear and engaging and others felt the same since you had many wonderful comments – congratulations on taming the beast!

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        • Glad you liked it – just put a new post about it, so you can help out with the ongoing research if you want/can. By the way, what happened with the tritching at your childrens’ school? I lost track of it.

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  4. E.K. Carmel says:

    Barb – cool!

    As for the kids with tics…once the publicity calmed down, so, too, did many of the girls’ symptoms. Most are now recovering.

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  5. Leah says:

    LOVE your photo caption 🙂 And, wow, you don’t waste any time, do ya? I’ve only peeked once or twice at my HtTs novel. But I plan to do a re-read and start revisions at the end of the year / beginning of 2013. (You know, if we’re all still here LOL.)

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    • E.K. Carmel says:

      Lol – I expect to still be here!

      I’m so glad you plan to continue with your novel. You’ve had a full plate since originally writing it, but, all things do have their time.

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