Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buckling Down

After reading the title of Skylar's previous post, I just couldn't resist playing on the words. Because while she's going up and away, I'm buckling down in the bunker that writers call "revisions" and sometimes call "revision hell." Although to be honest, I think the oppressive claustrophobia of revision hell is a friggin' airplane hangar compared to the even more oppressive claustrophobia that is modern air travel today because at least in my revisions, I'm not presumed to be a criminal just for wanting to get on an airplane.

Now, I wish I could say that these revisions are the result of an editor's suggestions, or that they come with the potential promise of a contract and eventual release, but sadly, no. That's not (yet) the case, although I am ever hopeful of that happening. Alas, this is revision that I have to do to the WIP before I dare send it out for editorial eyes to see.

I'm sure all writers, aspiring or more experienced, have heard this--never send an editor less than your absolutely best work. However, I'm sure that other writers, like me, are tempted to confuse our best work with our most inspired work. But depending on your writing process, your best efforts can be awesome raw material for story, but leave something to be desired in the way of craft.

So my efforts here involve returning to a story I'd left for some time, and re-reading in an effort to see where the inspiration left the craft in the dust. My first pass usually ends up shoring up the beginning--what propels the characters forward into the story.

I've found that I tend to work my story revisions in chunks. Taking the first part of the story, then moving on to the next part, and the next part, and finally reaching the endgame...after which I'm compelled to go back and revise again the start of the story to fit more in line with the end. Making these revisions is time consuming and can be painful, but I end up with a much better story in the end--one that I'm much more comfortable showing an editor.

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3 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Xandra, yep, that's why I won't fly in commercial planes anymore, that and I'd end up dead because of my allergies. The air in planes is disgusting, and totally unhealthy.
Your revision process is interesting. In my latest submission, only a novella, I've never revised so much in my life. Why? I think it's because it was a contemporary shifter story. And I struggled with creating that contemp voice. And, truthfully, I don't know if it worked or not?

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Good luck with the revisions, Xandra! I've been cutting and pasting my own ms lately too and it's a lot of work, but hopefully it all pays off in the end.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Sheesh, it just seems every author I know is knee deep (or deeper) in revisions right now. Good luck with yours!