Friday, 17 October 2014

Revising.


(the current state of my desk.)

I've just made a discovery about myself: I love revising long work. I've revised many short stories and poems, though I must admit to not really enjoying it. It always seems a chore. A drudgery. This is the first time I've revised a novel length work, due to the fact that it's only the third time that I've actually finished the first draft of a novel, and that this is the first time one's been worthy of revising.
On my shelf, along with the two crappy first drafts, there are also numerous false starts, most of them dead-ending around the 45,000 word mark. At that jinxed spot, I would either run into serious doubts about the story and decide to put it away for a bit; or I'd get really, really excited about a new idea and start the story all over again; or I would simply have run into too many plot-holes, get frustrated, and give up entirely.

"Write, and finish what you start to write." This has been ringing in my ears lately, coming from the mouths / pens of many professional writers. So, a few months ago, I took the very, very rough outline of a story I wanted to tell and I wrote the first draft. The whole blasted thing.
Then I put it away. Since that's also what published writers tell you to do. I wasn't sure how long to leave it there, but when I realized that I was actually dreading revising it and avoiding it for that reason, I knew it was time to bring it out.

(I'm having to use part of my painting wall for the revision process.)

And now, I'm knee deep in the process of revising, and - to my surprise - I'm loving it. I'm excited about the story again. About how things are now starting to set, to become more fully formed, about how the story's internal logic is gelling. It's no longer the amorphous 'first draft'; it's becoming a coherent, revised, competent 'second draft.'
After hearing so many writers talk about how the story really starts to tell itself during the revising process, about how that's the really exciting part of writing a long work, I'm finally starting to get it. I'm sure it's not like this for all writers, but I'm certainly in the camp for whom it is the case. That might change with experience, I don't know. But for the time being, it is the way it is.
Now, having said all of that, I'm still hoping that it won't take too, too many drafts till this puppy's done.

10 comments:

  1. I approve of the Arthur Rackham on your desk (I believe I recognize it correctly).

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    1. Well spotted, Grace. It's a beautiful one, isn't it.

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  2. How exciting, a book, your book. And I was smiling seeing your books get smaller and smaller and to 2cms, fantastic.
    Molly grew up too. She is so pretty. Nice to catch up.x

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    1. Thanks, Milly,
      It's been so much fun making them!
      Yes, Molly is fully grown now. She's a small cat, but much bigger than in those first photos I posted.
      Lovely to catch up with you - amazing what you've been doing with the natural dyes. x

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  3. So you have the gift of making a book... to writing a book... wow. I am not multitalented that way... as a visual artist I have never considered myself a writer. I think that is wonderful that you can find the focus to work both ways.

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    1. Though you might not consider yourself a writer, Donna, what you write on your blog says otherwise. :)

      I have often wished that I could just stick to one thing, but I have recently come to accept that that's just not how I'm wired. I don't always manage to find the focus, but I'm always thrilled when I do.

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  4. Happy new year... and I hope the book is coming along as well..

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    1. Happy new year to you too, Donna!

      Thanks! I put the revision work on hold while I finished a series of paintings and for the holiday chaos, but am going to get back at it this week.

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  5. Happy New Year Lynn! (Just now returning, after being absent for most of 2014.) Love + Light, Jan

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    1. Good to hear from you again, Jan!
      Wishing you all good things for 2015.

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