December Revision Update #2: Battle-Plan

It's very motivational to know someone's working when you should be. It makes me work.

Since my last post on Thursday, I've revised another three chapters. On Friday I took a break, but on Saturday I jumped back in and revised two chapters, eating through another one today.

This is partly thanks to my new Twitter buds, @johannaharness and @JCRosen. They participate almost every night in #amwriting "sprints", which include editing. They go for a whole hour, where on my own I usually just do a 1/2 hour.

One great thing about this editing is that I'm certain I'm not skimping on it. What I'm actually doing is being time-effective. Not only am I actually progressing with it, but this approach means that I'm really focusing on what matters at this point: removing the big-picture stuff. Those internal monologues that make me say to my MC, "Dude . . . you're an IDIOT!" Gone. If not gone, then re-worded to something that isn't glaringly obvious, melodramatic, stated in the last page, stated a few chapters ago, clearly stated near the start of the book, or out of character.

So I'm an over-explainer. Which is just perfect because I'm also a sparse writer.

But it's all good! This is what revision is about, and I'm making my book way better! In fact, you should see the last chapter. I didn't need to do much at all to it, but what I did do made it better.

I predict less vicious cutting in the coming chapters, as this is the point where I stopped writing certain subplots, and all the characters to be deleted now have been.

Now, I want to put this progress into perspective.

It took me 8 months to edit 9 chapters.

It's taken me 4 days to edit 5 chapters.

Oh, but I was studying during those 8 months. You know what? No! I now know that half an hour can take me through half a chapter. An hour can get me through almost a whole chapter. And if I'm tired out during the week, I can get through at least 4 chapters on the weekend.

It used to take me hours to get through one chapter. Why?
1. I was focusing on the wrong thing.
2. I wasn't focused!

MY CURRENT GOAL: Get through this round of revision (big-picture) by Saturday!

Once that's done, I'll be going through and seeing where I can deepen things, raise the stakes or make things more challenging, which will take a little more time.

However, those should be as approachable as this big-picture pass has been, since there won't be instances left and right, but only perhaps a few scenes every couple of chapters.

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Botanist said...

Well done on finding your motivation, and a method that works for you. I think this is one of the toughest things about writing, nobody can give you a magic formula - follow this and it will be easy. We each have to find what works for us. Sharing the pain with others and keeping each other focused doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but it's a powerful tool for many.

Ryan Sullivan said...

Thanks, Botanist!

It's definitely useful for me to work off other people. But I think the thing that's really got me going and speeding ahead is the timed thing -- it made me look at the more important stuff, and got me whizzing through it all to boot! And it's that progress that's really motivating.

The best thing about it is that I don't need other people to be doing it -- that's just icing on the cake. :) Now I can make good progress whenever I need to. All I have to do is set a timer for 30mins and I'm off.

This is a huge revelation to me, and will have a big impact on my editing process from now on.

Julia Hones said...

Enjoy the editing process! It is fascinating to see a story evolving into something that we like.

Jean Davis said...

Yay for finding what works for you! The timed writing/editing thing works great for me too. Now keep up that speed and motivation and get this revision round completed. :)

Ryan Sullivan said...

Zut! I've been skimping on the editing over the past few days. Thanks for the wake-up call! :)

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

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