Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Scary Day of Revising

Can I share a bit of revision angst?

No objections? Okay, here it goes.

Isn't this a beautiful, peaceful tree?

I think so, too!

Except when I've chased a character up it! Not so peaceful now.

Okay, I’ve chased my main character up the literary tree and I'm throwing rocks at her. It’s painful, oh so painful, but too, too good at the same time. Plus, I know that a couple bigger rocks are coming—poor kid. Watch out! It’s going to hurt. (But remember I love you!)

Does it hurt less if the rocks are heart shaped?

It’s the getting her down part that’s going to be hard, at least for me. I’m not sure how to get her down yet. Oh, man! Does this mean I’ve got some personal learning to do myself?

This last bit of revising, I think, is probably the most challenging. (Stephanie, how is it for you?) I don’t know about the other writers reading this out there somewhere, but in order to get through the rough draft, I had to plow forward and just finish...even though that meant tidying things up in neat and easy ways that came off contrived. Hey! It worked and I finished the rough draft, right? But now, the real stuff has to happen. You know? Some truth. A new ending must be written, and even though I know how it has to end, I still have to figure out how to get to that very last word. Not easy! Not easy, Friends!

Ah! Thanks. I feel better.

I think.


Stephanie Perkins said...

YES. Oh my god, YES.

For the last few days, I've fallen into all kinds of embarassing plot gaps and contrivances (created in the first place for the same reason yours were -- to get those previous drafts DONE).

Last night, I stared at my computer screen for twenty minutes thinking, "It's never going to be done. Never. Never ever ever."

Gahhhhhhh. One word at a time, right? One word at a time.

GOOD LUCK!! Less than a week -- ACKK!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Oh man, Stephanie! We are on the same-crazy-never-ending rollercoaster! I, too, stare at the screen and think, "There's still so much to do, BUT this should be the end of the book. I need to wrap it up."

Yesterday I made a list. A list of all the things I need to be sure happen or tied up before the last word and thought, "How can I do all that?" I guess, just like you said, one word at time.

Even if I make it through by the deadline, the truth is, there will be more work that will HAVE to be done.

For whatever reason it helps to know you are experiencing the same angst. Not that I want you to be, but you know.

Laini Taylor said...

You two, both of your fast first drafts sound glorious to me! I am so laborious over a first draft it takes forever and I rewrite everything as I go and torture myself. The end result may be a "first draft" that isn't super rough, but it also takes a lot of the fun out of the process. I am trying to do it your way now. But my nature is against it. Sigh.

Jolie, I make those lists (and index cards) too, as I go through. I like index cards because each problem you solve, you get to shift the card to the "done " stack, until there are none left. Woo hoo!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Index cards! YES...YES...YES...

Thank for putting the thought of using them into my brain at such a perfect time. I had been thinking about how I was going to manage the million and one bullets I've made in on my "Revision Musts" doc. Index cards are the perfect solution, and a little like a game...whittling away until they are ALL DONE.