Things I Struggle With and How I’m Fixing Them
(I’m outlining my revisions process during the September and October of Pitch Wars (which is what again?). It’s not just me! Other mentors are blogging, too.)
Revising Feels Like Destruction and Mayhem.
(coughcough, I am shamelessly stealing the term “frankenmanuscript” from the inimitable Jessica Bloczynski.)
So. You’ve written something (a book, maybe), and you’re trying to make it into the shiniest, prettiest, efficient-ist, and best version of itself. Then WHAM. Plot holes abound, a new idea strikes, revisions explode, and New Words are a thing that is happening.
But how are we supposed to add first-draft-level-crap to this shiny creature? It’ll look like a FrankenManuscript!!! Bits and pieces that don’t flow? We can’t stand for such chaos! Take out one link in the chain, and it’ll all fall apart!
It’ll be tough. Adding new work to work that has been polished is difficult. It feels like we’re taking this beautiful thing, ripping in in half, and trying to incorporate something new.
Here’s the bad news: It’s going to feel slapdash. It’s going to feel broken and bumpy. It’s going to be like cutting a chain in half and then trying to tie it back together with string. It won’t feel strong anymore.
What Doesn’t Kill It… makes it a chain?
Here’s the good news: It’ll all be okay. YES, it’s going to suck to add new and crappier words to older and more refined words. (There’s an analogy hiding somewhere about age and refinement and kids + old people, but I’m just going to ignore it.)
BUT. That’s what revision is for. You break the chain, tie it back together, and one you’re sure you have all the links you need to successfully get from Beginning to End, you can fix it. You go back, find the string, and put in some of that same elbow grease you used on the earlier drafts.
Go back and re-read it. Not just the section you added, but the sections around it. Make sure it flows. Make it stronger.
Given time, you can replace the string with iron, and your chain will be stronger than ever. You’ll look back and wonder how you ever thought the first version was good enough, because just look at that chain shine! Polished to a metallic gleam, and ready to carry the weight of your story.
(See, this is why I didn’t go with the old people + children analogy. This weird Chain Analogy somehow pulled everything together! [haha, chain pun inside an analogy inside brackets])
Want more writing tips?
- Check out the previous posts I’ve done on revision.
- Or check out the Show Don’t Tell Learn By Example series.
- If you have questions or suggestions, comment here or tweet it at the #pitchwars hashtag on Twitter!
- Don’t want to scroll back up? Here’s the list of blogging mentees I mentioned earlier.