February 20, 2011

There is No Try - Revisions are a Beast!

Ok so my very first update on my writing goals.  I met most of them.  Yoda says do or do not. I did not.  I had three goals:
  1. write once on Tuesday for at least an hour
  2. write once on Thursday for at least an hour
  3. Clean out my writing bag
I wrote for an hour - TODAY! and I did clean out my writing bag.  It was soooo hard to get myself to sit down and write.  I've thought a lot about why that was.  I think it boils down to the fact that I'm not writing right now I'm revising.  Now I love revising, but on a 60,000 word novel it's a bit overwhelming especially when I've never done it before! And since I hadn't revised in a long while I felt even more intimidated by the thought.  Finally I forced myself, and one I did I took off again! You know how some things seem super worse in your mind than when you finally do them?  That was getting back to Maya and Markus my main characters and telling their story. Hopefully now I'll get back into the swing much more. 

Question for any of you that write:
Do you dive in or do you plot out?  And if you dive in how do you revise it?????

I'm a diver.  I have a general idea, but I let the plot flow.  And when I feel compelled to write a certain scene I write it even if it's out of order.  The problem is - I have to go back and get those scenes into the correct spot.  I'm really struggling with that now.  How I'm dealing with it is just take a first read through from beginning to end making notes and minor changes about what I see needs to be done.  Then I'll reprint out so scenes don't overlap on the page.  From there I'll staple together scenes so I can arrange them into what I want.  Make sense?????? Any suggestions would be great.  I know, I know writing in order from the start would help, but I'm not that kind of writer.  Never will be!

Thanks for reading my ramblings about writing!

Next week goals:
  1. Revise Tuesday for at least an hour.
  2. Revise Saturday morning for at least an hour

Do or Do Not. There is No Try!


  1. Starting is the hardest part! I dive in then go back and look at it as a whole and see what's missing.

  2. I'm a diver. I love diving in. The first one I have ever written is 86 thousand words of CRAP. It's so hard to revise! I wish I would have known ahead of time!!!

    I revise one step at a time. My favorite step, is step 1. Post-it note revising. I take post its through the entire manuscript and one by one put my complaints, dislikes and restructure pieces. Then I write it out on the white board and step by step tear it up.

    Not easy... very, very rough. But worth it (I think).

  3. I'm a reformed diver. See my post about it here: http://kerrymanzo.blogspot.com/2011/02/diving-in-vs-plotting-plot.html

  4. I usually go through at least two drafts in revision. The first deals with major things--plot points that need to change to fit something I wrote later on, any scenes that I know have big problems, any additional scenes that need to be added in. Then I go through a second (or third or fourth or fifth but I think of it as a single second stage) time to do smaller tweaks--do I reuse a particular word too often and I need to change that? Add extra details into a particular scene, solve plot holes or inconsistencies that can be worked out with one line or two... I find it helps to focus on any big things, and then separately drill down into smaller items.

    On the subject of how hard it can be to sit down and write, I have to recommend a wonderful blog post I read about why we avoid things even when we love to do them, specifically writing. It's on www.cordeliacallsitquits.com, in the November archive: "My Dreams Are Better Than Brussel Sprouts." Hope you enjoy!


  5. I dive in. I have an outline from my prior draft and sometimes I move the chapters along as I go.

    Once I've done a zillion revisions I'm able to focus on a certain aspect--like word count, tightening the plot and do it in about 30 days. I have to do one soon on voice. Not looking forward to that.

  6. I'm a plotter. I have to know the direction before i start, even if it is just in my head. My only bit of advice: don't revise until the whole ugly first draft is done. Otherwise you'll be stuck on your first 30 pages for-ev-er.