No, I don’t mean the musical kind, I mean the cannot-leave-this-para-alone-and-move-on kind.
Seriously, this is so me—I’m like the poster child for fiddling. I can start revising a first draft and boom, look up two hours later to see I’m still on the first page. *screams*
I swear, some days I long for the past when I knew squat about good writing and thought revision had more to do about sentence structure, grammar and spelling than it does plot, voice, style or character development. You remember those days, don’t you? The good times. We’d pelt out a first draft and KNOW it was pure brilliance.
Now I know why ‘crap’ and ‘scrap’ are only one letter apart.
When I revise, I look at each line I’ve written and squeeze as much blood out of it that I can before moving on: Do I feel the voice? Is the description clear, relevant and unique? Is the plot furthered, am I adhering to the character arc? In other words, did I get as much bang for my buck with this line, or can I do better? Usually the answer is, yes, you can do better–keep trying, moron.
For me, this makes revision s-l-o-w. Think…glacial.
Now I made a deal with Becca this week—she would unhook her Playstation IV and write 4 days this week, and I would get my draft of In Between to her so she can take out her withdrawal rages on it. And…it’s Thursday, people! Thursday!
Tick. Tick. Tick.
I know this isn’t life and death here. Becca’s not going to beat me with a rubber hose, or strike my name from her crit partner list for exposing her to a little bad writing (trust me, she’s seen it before). It’s just for macro feedback, but still, I’d like her to be able to read it and not want to claw her eyes out.
I’ve decided to try the speed dating technique. I’m going to time myself, and give each chapter 10 minutes of love before moving on. Because it’s so early on in my MS’s transformation, I need something that forces me to not get bogged down on the nitty gritty stuff. I’ll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, what are your revision techniques? Do you go chapter by chapter looking for all the elements, or do you take one element at a time and go through the MS? I’d love to hear what works for you!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.