Monday, January 18, 2016

(Re)Vision Quest

Today marks the day that I begin that perilous journey known as Revisions, where I attempt to implicate the three-red-pens-and-two-highlighters-worth of changes and corrections I marked all over my manuscript during the first two weeks of January.

Sample pages. Bet you can guess why I needed that 3rd pen...


That first run-through was actually done last Wednesday, but I took a few days off in order to talk myself out of 

A) deleting all 325,000 words of it

or

B) giving up writing in favor of running away and joining the circus

or

C) All of the above

Obviously I did none of those things because here I am, writing a post about how I'm about to tear those 325,000 words apart in the hopes of reassembling it into a shiner, better, happier—

Well, maybe not happier. I don't think my characters have been happy since...well, ever. (Better luck in Book Three, characters!)

But it's perhaps possible that I could make a manuscript with which I am happier. Or, at least less unhappy because, at the moment, I remain unhappy and unimpressed with this first draft.

Which is all right because I have a plan to change that. Or part of a plan, at least. The broad strokes of a plan. Meaning, I (mostly) know what I need to do, even if I have yet to work out exactly how to do it.

That's right. I split some infinities. Homewrecker.
This week will be devoted to the easy fixes: the misspelled words—i.e., though instead of through, and that one character named Rhona who I kept calling Rhonda for whatever reason—the misplaced or missing commas (try as I might, I never get the damn commas where they're actually supposed to go), and incorrect verb tenses—that sort of thing, hoping that focusing on the little things might help me find the solutions to correct the other, not-so-little things.

For example...that one character who seems to think she's in a completely different story each and every time she shows up on the page because apparently my other personalities all took a shot at writing for her. Her arc will have to be overhauled from top to bottom.

Or the two characters whose relationship just isn't quite what it's supposed to be. Fixing that will be like walking a tightrope, and I have terrible balance.

Or the rampant amount of telling and not showing I decided to indulge in. It's like I was trying to write an 800-paged Dick and Jane novel. Which I wasn't, so you know, that'll have to be fixed, too.

For example.

What it all boils down to is that I've got a lot of work ahead of me. Just...no one tell the Gator Girl, okay?

Did you say something, Mom?

Oh, like I can say no to that face...(Actually, I say that a lot to that face. It's just that the ears attached to it don't often care.)

So, one last thing before I jump down the revision hole...

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I don't think it's one of those holidays where you say "Have a Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day" (not that I don't wish you a happy day), so instead let me express my hope that we all learn (or continue to learn) from his fine example and teachings.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, all.

45 comments:

  1. Best of luck with your revisions! Hopefully they don't end up being too big of a headache for you. And LOL, I can't help but snicker about the unhappy state of your characters. (Same can usually be said of mine!)

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    1. Thank you, Heather—I hope they go more smoothly than I imagine they will.

      And we're writers—we're supposed to torture our characters, right? That said, though, I would love it if you could stop torturing yours quite so much. I love them, and I want them to be happy.

      Delete
    2. LOL, I've barely started torturing mine yet! (You'll see what I mean once volume 3 of EE comes around.)

      Delete
  2. Good luck with the revisions! Fixing the little things always makes it seem so easy until you get to the big problems, doesn't it? And hey, if our characters were always happy, it would make for some pretty boring stories.

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    1. Yes, I imagine that when I get to the end of the easy fixes that I'll start dragging them out more and more to put off dealing with the big problems for which I still will have no solution.

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  3. I so hear you about the commas. Sigh.

    Good luck with the revisions! You can totally do this!

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    1. I really do try to put the commas in the right place. I don't know why I have such a mental block on that. Sigh is right.

      Delete
  4. Don't delete. Just take a deep breath and start with the first page.
    Everyone says to tackle the big issues first, but like you, I do the easy fixes first, even if I end up deleting scenes. I'm too distracted by typos and such to focus on fixing the real issues otherwise.

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    1. I like to start with the little things because I think it helps get me in the editing/revision mode so that I'm already in that mindset when I get to the big stuff.

      But no, no permanent deleting. I talked myself out of that. I think...

      Delete
  5. Congratulations! I take my hat off to you. You have been digging away at your novel for a while now and look . . . Progress! You go girl! Can I just say that I envy you right now? I recently pressed delete on book 2 and I might just be regretting it a bit . . . A lot, actually. Have a great week!

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    1. Did you delete it permanently? No!!!

      Anything I decide to delete goes into the "Deleted Scene File" where I will keep it forever, just in case I might need it for something else someday down the line. Nothing gets deleted forever. At least not on purpose. :)

      Thanks for the tip of the hat!

      Delete
  6. You're poised and ready to begin.

    Show don't tell can sometimes be an easy fix, like altering a sentence so the "ing" word is an "ed" word instead.

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    1. Yeah, some of the show and tell stuff will be an easy fix, but I just lumped it together with the examples that won't be quite so easy. I think the easy stuff is probably in the minority, anyway. :)

      Delete
  7. See MJ spell.
    See MJ unsplit infinitives.
    See MJ tear her hair out.
    Your book is much more exciting than Dick and Jane.

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  8. I decided to try your technique. On Saturday I printed out my manuscript. I haven't done it this way in so long. I'm not looking forward to having to fix the changes on the computer based on what I put on the pages, but that's okay. I think this technique will help me.

    Looking at your notes, I want you to do my revisions for me. LOL!

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    1. It always helps me to print out a copy. I just get so used to looking at it on the screen that I miss so much. Changing the way I look at it helps make that stuff obvious.

      And I'm always happy to do revisions for others...anything to put off doing my own. :)

      Delete
  9. Is it weird that I love doing revisions, simply because of all the colour coding? I'm such a geek. But it looks to me like you've made an impressive start already! You can do it!! Just make sure you reward yourself with a cup of tea or bar of chocolate every now and again ;)

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    1. Complete a page, eat a Kit-Kat—that's something I could certainly get behind. :)

      I love the color-coding, too, truth be told.

      Delete
  10. At least yours isn't small enough to just jump up into your lap at the slightest opportunity.

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    1. In my experience, size has no bearing in that regard. I have found that the bigger the dog, the more they think they belong in my lap and will climb in there at any opportunity.

      Assuming, of course, that you were talking about dogs and not manuscripts. :)

      Delete
  11. Come on. Surely you can run away somewhere better than the circus. Does the circus even take runaways anymore? :P

    I'm sure you can do it. Although you might have to put the dog in another room.

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    1. Buffy Summers ran away and became a waitress at a diner in LA. I guess I could do that instead of the circus.

      The Gator Girl is actually in my office with me right now. She's sleeping, which makes me think something's wrong with her, but I'll take advantage of that gift. :)

      Delete
  12. I prefer revision to first draft writing. At least I have some idea of where the story "should go" and how the characters "should" act. Go forth on your adventure with red light saber. And put a scarf or helmet on so you don't pull out all your hair :)

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    1. Red light saber. I like that.

      And yeah, there's a quote by an author (Nora Roberts maybe?) that says something about how she can always go back and fix a bad page, but she can't fix a blank page. Or something along those lines. And while the revision process doesn't always do wonders for my ego, I do like it (even if this post suggests otherwise)for the reasons you mentioned. I know what it should do. Well, with the exception of that one character anyway...

      Delete
  13. Happy MLD! And 325 thousand words is alot to go through. YIKES!

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    1. I know. It seemed like such a good idea at the time...

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  14. Maybe someday MLK's dream will become a reality.

    Good luck with revisions!

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  15. Cheers to you on MLK Day! And good luck with your revisions. I started mine last week on Friday. I totally overhauled my first chapter and realized that meant I would have to continually make corrections corresponding to it in the whole story. Drat.

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    1. Yeah, don't you love it when that happens? I haven't had to do that yet with this WIP, but I've done it in the past.

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  16. Comma usage is a mystery to me too. _-_

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    1. I'm just going to start putting commas after every, single, word. That, way, I, know, that, some, of, them, are, at, least, in, the, right, spot.

      Delete
  17. Hey, at least you caught the name change. There was one book I read where the character inexplicably changed names for one chapter of the book. At least I think it was the same character...

    I know my comma placement. But how I learned comma placement is not something I'd sic on you. It was long and painful.

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    1. Yes, I am pleased to have caught the name change. Finding it made me laugh, but I'll be sure to take that out of the next draft.

      And I'm curious about these painful comma placement lessons.

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    2. You asked...

      I'd write her name, but I don't think I could ever spell it. It was long, German, and started with a K. She taught my 10th & 11th grade English class. (Oh, and when I found out I had her again for a 2nd year...)

      She would drill us on grammar. And I mean drill. We'd get one worksheet, then another, then another. Each getting harder. And we never quite got enough time to finish them. But they were graded on accuracy.

      They started simple enough. Identify the noun. Identify the verb. But soon enough, we were on to gerunds and verbals. And all sorts of minutiae that I don't remember the terms for.

      But a funny thing happened somewhere in the middle of 11th grade. I finally started to "get it". My grammar isn't perfect, but I make a fewer errors than I would have had I never met Mrs. K.

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  18. Best of luck with revisions. It always seems daunting in the beginning, but hopefully you'll find your stride easily. :-)

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    1. I hit a good stride yesterday. Hoping I can recapture it again today!

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  19. Editing is tough, but I think there is something so satisfying about having every page covered with notes and highlighted. Good luck. It's a huge task, but enjoy it!

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    1. I prefer it when the page is all marked up. The blank pages make me nervous because I'm convinced I totally missed something.

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  20. 325K? Do you have any paper left after printing out that bad boy? Whew! That sounds like 3 books in 1 to me. =)

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    1. I do still have paper still. I always buy it in bulk. :)

      Delete
  21. Go for it! My dog doesn't mind if I have a lot of work to do. It means she can snuggle with me while I type away on my computer!

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    1. The Gator Girl is, sadly, more interesting in playing and moving and not being still. She never snuggles for long.

      Delete
  22. Yeah, pets don't listen well when you have to tell them no. Good luck with revisions!

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