Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My bleeding manuscript.

For months I've been struggling to revise the novel manuscript I finished this past May. 
No...that's a lie. Truthfully, I've been ignoring the revision process altogether
because to put it plainly, I don't know what to revise or how to revise it. 
What I have been doing is line editing. Fixing nit-picky, grammatical nonsense 
and wasting time reading and rereading and making no progress at all.
Let me tell you, that approach does not work.
It's like being a doctor and having a dying patient in front of you.
She's bleeding, she's unconscious, she obviously needs attention,
but you don't know what's wrong with her,
so you give her a nose job and a facelift. 
Ridiculous, right? A nose job isn't going to save a dying woman.
She doesn't need a plastic surgeon, she needs an EMT,
or she's never going to make it.
Similarly, my rough draft didn't need an editor,
it needed a reviser. All I've done until now is give my bleeding manuscript a pretty band-aid.
This week, I sat down and googled the revising process,
and I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. 
I found heaps upon heaps of advice - everything from general concepts down to 
extremely detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to revise your novel from first draft to
final draft. Obviously, not all the advice will be a great fit for me. Every writer's process
is as unique as the writer herself. But it's a great starting point; a way to push me into a step
of the writing process I'd previously not even been able to imagine. 
And what a push that was. 
For the past two days, I've been glued to my computer, 
going through scene after scene and character after character, 
determining what they're doing, why they're doing it and what they contribute to the story overall.
I've been working to see my creative work with an analytical eye.
And I'm beginning to see the problems - the scenes that need more conflict, the actions that don't serve a purpose, the characters who need to work harder or be erased. 
I'm diagnosing the issues,
and now that I know it will take a lot more work than a pretty band-aid to fix them,
I'm ready to pick up the scalpel and operate.  


  1. ah good luck! Such a daunting process.

  2. Good luck! :) One day I'll be sitting in the same position as you...Hopefully! :)

  3. Progress is so exciting -- even if it's "just" editing. Think how great it will feel when you're done! Good luck:)

  4. Way to be. I really liked your plastic surgeon/EMT analogy :) It'll probably be kind of tough to 'operate' on your brain child, but you can do it!

    Here's my writing advice, recalled from Strunk and White in my college writing class): 'Omit needless words.'

  5. google knows everything!! whenever I don't know something, I google it! :) Good luck!

  6. Good for you for tackling your manuscript! I can't imagine that feeling... revising/proofreading grad school papers always give me the "blah"s. Google helps me a lot too...It is one of my smartest friends haha


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