Well, I managed to go…

Well, I managed to go back to the novel yesterday, tweaked chapter one, and did some serious revisions (adding three new scenes) to chapter two. I'm moderately happy with them both now.

One of the nice things about my revision process is that I get to solve several problems at once. My main drafting problem is that I have a tendency to be lazy in my first draft -- I write a lot of material in summary. I.e., A and B argued until A felt exhausted and ready to kill B. This is the classic reason we tell students "Show, don't tell." It's all telling. So when I revise, I go back and try to dramatize it, to show the same material in scene. I give you the actual dialogue of the fight.

What happens is that I then get to fix several problems at once. The dialogue itself is more interesting than the summary. Plus, because I don't have to tell you how to feel about the scene, I can just present what happens and let you draw your own conclusions -- that make the section more subtle. I can just let the characters do occasionally contradictory and complex things, without trying to explain why they would do that. And I can take the opportunity as I'm rewriting to add in some setting/description, which also makes the scene more vibrant.

It does mean that there's a lot to think about as I revise each section, which is a bit exhausting. But I'm pretty sure the book is improving as I go. (Nota bene: Not everything has to be scene; sometimes summary has a purpose. A book that is all summary is usually boring. But a book that is all scene can be exhausting.)

There are twenty chapters at the moment, of about 5000 words each. So far, each chapter I've revised has added about 2000 words. If it keeps on vaguely like this, 2000 new words a day is not an unreasonable amount -- which means that I essentially need 18 more days of work on this draft. That's not so intimidating. Even if I procrastinate every other day, I can still be done by the end of March, as planned.

Of course, that assumes it all goes smoothly. I could get horribly stuck on a writing problem somewhere along the way. :-) So I'd best at least try not to procrastinate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *