Revisions!

 Literature Blogs

I am revising one of my stories now, and came to the conclusion that I find revisions both frustrating and wonderful. Frustrating, because I must find the time or force myself to sit down and DO them. Wonderful, because, my, what a better story I’ve written afterwards.

I have come to a second conclusion, that if I’m doing a whole-novel revision, I work best on hard copy. When I sit in front of a computer screen to do revisions, I don’t have the past scribbled pages next to me to show me how much progress I’ve made. On the computer screen, it all looks good, and so I plug away one line at a time without really seeing the progress. Doing whole novel revisions is similar to weeding a garden. If you just plucked five weeds daily, you may not notice much of a difference. But if you spend a couple of hours (or full day) weeding, and next to you is this pile of weeds to be tossed, there is greater satisfaction.

Keep writing, and keep revising! If you have only a few minutes a day to revise, keep plugging away. If you can read your hard-copy scribbles, keep doing those corrections. Which is your preference, or do you do revisions entirely different from these two?

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4 thoughts on “Revisions!

  1. The first and only time I was in New York I went to Central Park. An older lady sat on a bench watching the world around her and making notes. As I drew closer I could see she was editing or revising a manuscript. The look on her face, the place, and the act all seemed magical to me.

    You are right. There is wonder in the art of revision.

  2. My revisions are much more global and inclusive when I work with hard copy. And I print it all out TINY so I can see as much on one page as possible. I tend to make separate passes for each plot thread/character arc. I am always eager to get to the computer and do them, but if I don’t invest the time in hard copy first, my revisions tend to be very superficial.

    I love Sharon’s story of the woman in Central Park!

  3. I really liked Sharon’s story of the woman in Central Park, too. However, I wondered if she were an editor!

    I also liked your wording, Rose, of you finding short-time revisions, v.s. time-invested-hard copy revisions being, as tending to be superficial.

  4. Sometimes I print out the hard copy because I think you can see things better with a hard copy. But I’ve revised so many times on my manuscript that some are done on the computer. I have to get motivated to do yet another set of revisions. Not quite up to it yet.

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