Hey, everyone. I realize I am not a reliable blogger. I am however a reliable person in real life so that makes me feel better. For a while now I wanted to put my thoughts into words about revising your story and revisions in general.
Cue Sunday in the Park With George. Bit by bit putting it together.
I am in no way shape or form a writer who feels qualified to give advice on craft and similar. That is just not my style. So this post is me mostly rambling on how I did the biggest revision ever and it worked out for me.
So we all know that I am now an agented writer. I still can’t believe I get to say that. But before I got my contract I had to do a whole revise and resubmit first. For those not sure: an R+R is when the agent sees potential in your story and you, but they need some significant changes. That was the position I was in.
Honestly I was happy to get one. Editing has never been a strong point for me, but I felt like I should trust myself and my ability to story tell. When I got that edit letter it became so real.
What did I do first? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. For me I had to step away from my manuscript. This was the time for me to clear it all so when I did finally get to it, everything was fresh. I wasn’t so attached.
Then the pain sets in. You realize some things you love will have to be tossed. And I light a candle and say some kind words and then I hit that delete button. Highlights and highlights of paragraphs disappear. And I thought well how will I fill this space?
I can truthfully say that the space will be filled with something better. Something that fits the new direction of the story.
The best part of revisions is writing new stuff. New jokes, dialogue, subplots. My characters were filling out better. When you start to see how things are better you gain more confidence. You take more risks. Calculated but risk is good.
The kicker is those who read your early work can tell the differences and likes them. I look back at old drafts and go what was I thinking? How did I think that was fetch? Here’s a plug for Mean Girls the musical on Broadway. That’s okay early drafts are good for you writer. I love seeing where my headspace was. I use that as determination.
So yes there were times that I am not afraid to admit that I felt like I was letting myself or Saba down. A million tabs reflected on my glasses. I was writing anywhere I could. My memo filled with ideas and dialogue. And because I can’t not quote Hamilton. I was writing like I was running out of time. And I wasn’t even on a deadline.
The hardest part in revising a story. Especially a novel is staying true to the character and feel. Often I had doubts that I was changing things too much, while at times feeling as if I didn’t change enough.
So I’d remedy that feeling by not doing anything at all. And if you get to the end by this feeling. This is a good stop to get off and send your story out to beta readers.
Just when you think you had your story all figured out, betas will tell you, you didn’t. And you facepalm yourself because how could you miss? In the words of Mushu. I actually enjoyed my betas’ feedback. I airbended it into a better version.
So I’ve been rambling and I haven’t even said what were my main revising points. Settle in kids:
- Plot. And boy did my story need a huge plot revision. Characters had to go, subplots followed. Chapters had to be moved forward. Some back. I lost my edges trying to make the order work.
- Characters. Some of my characters needed more page time. This was probably the easiest part for me. I do characters. Figuring things out about them is fun. Plotting their lives however is not as natural. But I loved beefing up my peeps.
- Dialogue. I’m pretty darn good at it. Don’t know how because I am so limited in real life, but sprucing up old dialogue really helped me center who my characters are and determining their voices.
- The little things. Cause it’s the little things. The little, little, little… Okay so that means the small details that when pushed all together makes your character them. Tidbits about their past, or location things.
I am in love with my current standing manuscript. For those of you revising and/or considering a R+R I say don’t be afraid. It can be unnerving and sad to make such huge changes, but know it’s all for the better. Your story and you will be in much better shape.
It challenged me as a writer. I know now that I am capable of doing the work. It was hard. There was a time I thought I was doing this work and it wouldn’t be good enough. It could’ve been the case. In the end I realised that the skills I acquired was much more useful than landing an agent.
Though I am over the moon I have an agent!
Yep, so that’s my ramblings on revisions. I put a novel together. Took it apart and put it back together again.