Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Revising again

It took until Saturday (instead of just Friday), but I finally did finish that last scene, finishing the first draft for once and for all.  Now I'm revising again -- not the third novel (the one I just finished), but the first one.  (The second installment, if you will remember, is a novella I realized I had room for between Pandora's Box and the one I just finished, the title of which I have yet to release.)

Ah, revisions.  I had forgotten how long revisions take, or how tedious they can be.  I also don't remember enjoying it quite so much last time, but perhaps I'm enjoying it more now because my novel is in a better place... or because I have better ideas of what changes to make.  Revising isn't just about perfecting the piece you are working on; it's also about honing your skills as a writer.

This time, I decided to print out the entire novel, read through it on paper, and mark revisions by hand.  (Last time, if you'll remember, I revised in a PDF annotator app on my Nook.)  So far I am liking this way better, though it does result in more hand cramps!  It feels more personally interactive than typing my changes on a touch screen, for one thing, but I also like that it forces me to sit down in my office and work on it for long periods of time (since there's no way I'm hauling 300 pages of printer paper around with me).  Since I took the novel everywhere with me on my Nook the first time I did revisions, I was a bit complacent, and would do a couple pages here, a half a page there.  But for the sake of continuity, that's not a very good way to revise a novel.

When I was planning last week to work on revisions this week, I thought I was going to go through the hard copy of the entire manuscript in three days, and then spend the rest of the month performing the revisions and doing some of the rewriting I know I need to do.  I'd forgotten how time-consuming reading through and marking revisions can be!  Instead, after three days I am only 55 pages into the manuscript, one-sixth of the way.  That's not bad, but it will also evidently take me longer than three days!

Here are a few pictures to show what a page typically looks like by the time I am done with it:

Can you see all the marking on it -- in the margins, in between (double-spaced) lines?  Sometimes I run out of room on the page itself, and have to use the back of the previous page:

That picture is a bit more blurry, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Here's hoping I make some good progress today -- I have a couple of hours in which to work!

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