I think a lot of writers would agree with me if I admitted my best work happens during revision. Sure, ideas are great. First drafts on the other hand, or more properly *my* first drafts, just never nail it. When I’m initially writing something what I’m generally doing is writing down the bones. I write like one might build a house. First you lay the foundation. Then you put up your frame. Then you add your wiring and plumbing. Then the walls go up and finally — at the very end — you add a coat of paint. I know, it’s probably not the best analogy, but it works.
I don’t look at revision as a nasty word. I don’t even dread it. It’s actually my favorite part of the writing process. It’s that point where I can go through my entire story and slow down to look around. What observations did my characters miss the first time? What does the reader need to know that maybe I left out? Is it all consistent? Does it flow well? If not – I revise, rewrite, and sometimes I delete.
As for how revision works into my writing process, that’s a bit more complicated. It’s not like I sit down and write a story from beginning to end and then revise in the same order. Okay, so maybe for short fiction or novellas that might be true. But for novels – no. No, with novels I write in scenes. Then I go back through and write transition scenes to link them all together. It’s something akin to sewing together a Frankenstein monster. Revision sometimes happens as I’m “sewing” scenes together with transitional scenes. Then I usually read it through one more time and the final revision (before it goes to my editor) is where I make sure it all reads smoothly and hopefully makes sense.
It’s also when I’ve reached the revision process that I breathe a sigh of relief because I know the book will actually be finished. Yes, there have been a few books where getting to that point of revision felt like a painful uphill trek with each forced sentence. Other first drafts come out like word vomit and the revision becomes a daunting task. Each book is born in its own way and each one presents its own unique challenges.
I suppose that’s why writing books appeals to me so much and perhaps that’s why I love revision, too. I love a challenge.
About The FM Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour
Today’s post was inspired by the topic Revision this month’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what they think about Revision, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. I blog with this tour the 25th of every month. Up next on the tour: Becky Pratt!