Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Joy of Revision!

Okay. I know. A lot of writers hate revisions. And I've just gone through a drastic rewrite of my time travel romance, Erin's Rebel. I practically rewrote the outline, then tossed out about a third of the original story. I had to rewrite new chapters and scenes from scratch to replace all those tossed chapters.

But now, having done all that work, I've got a much better story to work with and have finally gotten to, what I consider, the good part of revision. I do have to add in some extra scenes and description to make it to my target word count, but the rest is just improving what I wrote. Polishing, if you will.

For me, it's much easier at this stage to rework what I've aleady written, instead of having to pull new material out of the air.

Even though I work from an outline when writing my first draft, this outline is very sparse. A scene in outline form may only be a couple of sentences, while the scene itself is three or four pages long.

If I'm lucky, when writing my first draft, I can eke out three or four new pages per day. When I'm revising, I can do from one to three chapters.

My other project, also a Civil War romance, is still in the outline stage and I have a lot of research yet to do. Although I like this new story and look forward to writing it, all of the hard work is still ahead on this one.

Erin's Rebel, on the other hand, is nearly fully formed. Although edits can sometimes be a headache, it's nothing compared with trying to work out an outline. Research at the revision stage is mostly limited to looking up the dates and outcome of a Civil War battle in the vicinity of my setting. Or checking on a word I used in dialogue to be sure it was in use during the period. The main research for the story, at this point, is behind me.

Yes, I definitely like the revision stage.

3 comments:

Kristin-Marie said...

Susan, I love your stories. Thanks for sharing your pacing.

Denise Eagan said...

I'm just the opposite, Susan. When I'm writing, I can write a chapter in a day, sometimes more. When I'm revising, it's sometimes only a page or two.

Christine Koehler said...

It's interesting everyone's different feelings on revisions. For me, it depends on my mood, actually, but then I'm a Scorpio and terribly moody. Sometimes I can write and write and that's all I do for a week at a time. Other days, I can't write a damn word but can revise and tweak to my heart's content. Either way, it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, even if it’s in a round abut way.