Friday, June 5, 2009

change, pain, anguish, write


I've been working on my MG novel for longer than I care to remember. Some writers can tell you how many revisions their books have gone through; I can't. I am one of those who revise on a rolling basis. But recently I did make myself do a once-through revision, to make sure the big picture details are in place, that characters don't disappear, that threads don't get dropped, that details stay consistent.

This week, I've made use of the forced time away from the novel by my trip, to do another once-through, big picture revision. I anticipated the work to be smooth, with minor changes here and there. After all, I'd done so much of the detail revision last time.

Ha! Right.

Things are never as easy as I want them to be. There are a number of places in the book where the emotional flow doesn't feel right. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew which direction I should take, thank goodness. I hate those times when something doesn't read right and I have no idea how to fix them.

But knowing what direction to take and actually writing the scenes that take those directions are two separate events. Oh how I've fought the decision because I know how long it takes for me to get from first draft to polished: very, VERY long. And since most of the book has clawed its way through so many revisions, I was hesitant to introduce new passages that I know would read much more awkwardly.

Can't I just pretend I don't see the flaws? Can't I just switch around some sentences and replace some words and call it done? After all, I am getting ready to send out a few partials and a full. I need to get the baby out the door!

This morning, I finally took the plunge and re-wrote some of those passages. I am resigned to the fact that I'll have to hang on to the manuscript for a longer time before the new passages gel and mature. But I know, in my gut somewhere, the book will be better for it.

Even if the new passages take me to completely new places and I have to rewrite the entire second half of the book.

[An anguished NO escapes me...]

[the graffiti man is anguished by revjim5000]

6 comments:

T. Anne said...

yes editing can be anguish. Stay strong, it's worth it!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Editing is never easy, especially when you're being honest. Good luck!

Yat-Yee said...

Thanks, my fellow writers.

Corey Schwartz said...

Wow! I have a lot of respect for you novel writers. I could never do it!

tanita davis said...

Ugh -- I'm about at this stage, too -- an "almost there" but not quite when I just *know* things aren't right. I'm willing to read revisions, so let me know.

Nandini said...

Yat-Yee,
If your gut tells you there need to be changes, do it. The pain is worth it. The mess and chaos of upsetting a finished whole is worth it. If it takes your story to a higher place. Go there, my friend. And good luck!
(but save that copy of ver 1.1 ;-) !!)