On Revision

medium_2326873674Revision is such an important part of writing. Some say, it’s where the writing really begins. Revising can be frustrating and rewarding. While the problems with the story become more evident, they also gradually become more solvable.

Right now, I’m revising one of my novels. I’ve found the biggest flaw I had while writing was spelling out what characters were thinking too much. A lot of times, I just flat out stated what they were feeling. Nobody thinks this way. Nobody knows exactly the source of all his or her problems without doing much analysis. So, why would my characters talk that way?

I don’t know. Maybe because I was being a lazy writer when I wrote my first draft. This is why we revise. Now, I can see so clearly where I was being lazy and where I need to develop my character’s voices more.

But, I needed that first draft where I spelled everything out for my own mind. Maybe it seemed unnatural and forced, but now it’s clear in my head what this story is truly about. Luckily, no one needs to ever see that first draft.

As I work on revising, I am putting myself in the character’s minds much more. I created the characters and their struggles in the first draft and now I can let it go and sink into their unique voices.

I like revising much more than initially writing. There’s something with which to work and something with which to play in revision. I can get much more creative because all the fundamental questions are already answered.

I love sitting down with my printed rough draft in my lap and a pen in my hand. My coffee (or more typically hot chocolate, because I hate caffeine *link) will sit on the table next to me. Then I just tear right in. I draw arrows, scribbles, shorthand that only I would understand. If I were a sexist asshole, I’d say I make my rough draft my bitch.

My next draft will be completely unrecognizable to my first one and the one after that will be even farther removed. At some point, I may come closer back to the original, but never the same. Each one will be a slight improvement, but only in the subjective mind of my present self. Revision’s a never-ending process, but it sure is fun!


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