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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Revision Heaven? Or Revision Hell?

Ah, revisions. I actually love them. At least, I love the product. I love to see the story get better, to be better than I ever thought it to be, or to reach the loftiness of my vision for it, or whatever. So you would think I'd be in revision heaven, since I'm doing revisions on the book formerly known as THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH but I think I'm actually in can't make enough time for revisions hell. Here's why:

A. I need more quality time to revise than I do to draft. When I'm writing, I can jot down ideas, bits of dialogue, some description, anywhere I go. But to revise I need to immerse myself in the manuscript, and I just can't do that right now. Despite daylight savings time, my weekdays seem to be getting shorter. And my weekend time keeps getting erased- my birthday, Thunder over Louisville (the opening of the Derby--and the following Derby festivities, three weeks of them!) I bowed out of the senior trip to Disney, but there's still Easter, there's Prom, and then end of school. End of school is already an issue for me because I have to make decisions about being there for my own kids or for my students. Most of the time I'm sending Lee and my mom to Kindergarten award ceremonies, because I just can't get away. Especially not when I'm administering finals. I'm still working, going from scene to scene, and I've worked out some time to really dig into the manuscript. But I want that time to be right now. Instead it seems like I'm trying to get things done so that I can immerse myself in the manuscript in the near future...I'm trudging up a big hill or something, and I mostly just want to take a nap.

Speaking of naps...which means speaking of sleeping,  I woke up this morning, slept in, thought about the story, and thought of some little nuanced detail that I wanted to add. And then, I FORGOT. Let me say that I never do this. I think of ideas in the middle of the night, and I pretty much alway remember them. But this idea drifted away, leaving me with the mere feeling that it evoked in me. The feeling was a (probably incorrect) impression that this tiny little detail was going to be amazing. So forgetting it has of course, plunged me into despair. Or, rather, the despair of mild annoyance. Is that a thing? It is for me.

B. The grass is always greener on the other side. When I'm writing something new, I stare at the blank screen and wish I had pages of words to rearrange and play with. When I'm staring at all these words I wrote, I think how refreshing and wonderful a blank page is. How much I'd love to write some brand new scenes, even some new characters! I think when it comes down to it, revision is closer to the finished product, so that's what I'd rather do. But...I've figured out that there's a point in a draft, up to about 200 pages for me, where I can hold everything in my head. And then, there's a point where I can't. When I get to that point, things get harder. Luckily I know this manuscript really well. I think, to get rid of the drafting itch, I might start jotting down notes./scenes for Masque book 2. Which means time to go to Office Depot for a new notebook/folder!

In conclusion, I might be on the brink of Revision Heaven. What I have is a manuscript I love, some great suggestions for improving it, some nice pens, fancy sticky notes, and a highlighter. What I need is more quality  time and a brain with a little more memory--a gigabyte would be great! Yay for revisions! 

(But what about revision Nirvana...that...would be something). 

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Blogger Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

revisions are amazing, I agree.

April 17, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger out of the wordwork said...

I completely agree with this post!! However, I do think when I'm in revisions it is more heaven-like than hell-like. The first draft hell is my torture. It's as you say "revision is closer to the finished product, so that's what I'd rather do". And there is always the trip to the office supply store to look forward to ... :)

April 18, 2011 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with revisions. I love the end result, but getting to that point can be rough sometimes. Still, it's great to know that I'm that much closer. I also love any excuse to buy new office supplies : )

April 28, 2011 at 11:11 PM  

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