Saturday, December 18, 2010
What with NaNoWriMo finished, all the writers seem to be staring at their finished novel and asking themselves, "How in the world am I going to turn this piece of junk I've written into a novel?" And then...procrastination sets in, and they shut down their computer and go to grab some egg nog.
As much as I'd like to be, I'm just like the other writers. I have a deadly fear of the ferocious thing known as revision, that thing that slays creativity in its tracks and promotes procrastination. But is the deadly sword of revision really all that bad? Or can it be turned against procrastination?
Another problem is this: I have actually never fully revised one of my novels. This is because of two reasons. 1) I tend to go and start other projects. Sorry folks. Simple as that. ;) Sure, I have four novels to my name, but none of them are fully revised. 2) And second, there is so much to revise. The sheer number of mistakes and plot problems that needed correcting on my first novel overwhelmed me. And permanent procrastination killed further effort.
I'm determined that things will be different with The Book of Shaldu, though. I am not going to fail--not this time. This novel's going to be published--or bust. No egg nog! Grab the pen. Let's go.
Now, there are several things that I focus on when revising my novels. Things that work. :) I usually do them in the order I array them.
Read read read. I read my novel so many times I practically memorize it. I could probably quote the first paragraph of my prologue in Quest for the Kingdom from memory, I've read it so many times. With The Book of Shaldu, I've converted it to Kindle format and downloaded it onto my Kindle. More on that later--I have pictures. ;) But right now--rather ironic, isn't it?--I'm reading my own novel on my Kindle and putting notes wherever I notice mistakes or places that need to be revised.
But you'll find that revision comes easily when you read your novel. You'll see a mistake as you read and fix it. An unnatural conversation. A lacking description. And then you edit, you revise. It's easy to spot mistakes when you read your novel.
2) Individual Revision
I like to focus on individual places where I need to seriously revise, places I found when reading. Sometimes the plot needs to be fixed. This helps narrow down your focus and help you write a bit better--because, honestly, would you rather revise a chapter or an entire novel? Focusing one chapter at a time helps keep procrastination at bay. And sometimes you find sections where the wording just isn't 'right'. Sure, it might be grammatically correct, but sometimes you just have to revise because you need to fix the wording of things. I do this all of the time, and it makes the piece flow better as a whole.
Sometimes I just need to expand. A piece written in a hurry may not have the necessary description or I haven't spend enough time on it for it to flow well and long enough. I especially focus on journeys--they are extremely hard to write when doing NaNoWriMo, but I try to take the time and majorly expand on them in the later stages of the novel. After all, not all journeys are composed of teleports, and while teleporting from place to place when writing a novel is useful, it is sometimes necessary to give a feeling of time.
4) The Last Gloss-over
This is one stage that I have never quite gotten to, but one that I know will happen eventually. Basically, all major editing is done. I'm satisfied with the plot. Contradictions are taken care of--and the story flows well. But there's still those little things that give the story a raw feel. So, when I get to that stage ;) I'm going to repeat the first step and read read read my novel until I am satisfied it is ready to be sent to a publisher. :)
What Jake has learned of revision in a nutshell, readers. But I still need more help! I have enlisted the assistance of a certain book on writing Christian fiction, but I have yet to recieve it, so, in the meantime, would you mind sharing your wisdom? :)
Over and away,