Monday, January 9, 2012

It's A Keeper

  I am currently in the process of revising my novel (different from editing, as you should know based on this post), and it's a little rough. The novel looks great. But as I go through it line by line, sentence by sentence, word by word at times, I look at it and go WTF was I thinking? Why did I use this word or have this character say that? What purpose does this nonsense serve? But if I stand back, and look at the whole paragraph, the whole page, or the whole chapter, I say, wow, I wrote that, look how well it turned out!
    Revision is painful because you have to tear out beautiful phrases or funny bits of dialogue because they don't move the story along in some way or another. It's painful because you have to let that internal editor out--the one you tied up and locked in a closet while you were writing--and let him stand there and mark up your beautiful prose with ugly red ink, with that sniveling, condescending look on his face while he does it. And at the end, you're left with pages and pages covered in red marks like they got in a fight with a tiger and lost. That internal editor is one mean bastard. But, in the end, your writing is more cohesive, more interesting, and more of what it should be.
    I finished editing it last week--fixed all the typos I found, corrected a few formatting and syntactical errors, and set out to print it out again to revise. Unfortunately, my printer is dangerously low on ink at the moment, so I think it's amazing I've managed to print out over 130 pages twice without any black ink.
    Printing job 1: navy blue ink.
    Printing job 2: maroon ink.
Amazingly enough, I succeeded. I didn't even run out of red ink by the time it was done! The only issue is editing in red ink on a print-out made in red ink. The shades are just different enough to tell, but I'm having to be much more careful as I read through the print-out to make changes to my digital document so I don't miss anything.
    What makes this process all the more difficult is that my head has been bothering me lately after using the computer all day at work. I have been having a hard time looking at screens again when I get home, which makes things a little challenging. I can work on the print-out copy ok, but when I have to go back to the computer to add those fixes to the digital version, I have to take a break every few minutes so I don't get a headache.
    I have glasses, but it's not a matter of seeing and not seeing the screen. I think it's just the extended amount of time using the computer has caught up with me and I need more rest in between usage. In any case, I have a few solutions yet to try to fix that problem, so we'll see whether I can overcome it or not.
    I will be hammering through the rest of the novel revisions over the next couple weeks, I hope, but after that, I think I should have a little more time on my hands to blog. Unless lightning strikes again and I get another idea to start writing. But I won't be under a 30 day deadline this time, so I should theoretically still have more time for other things.
Right. Write. Rite. Revision: The rite of writing right. Or something like that.

Does anybody have any revision tips, comments, or gripes?
Share in the comments!

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