My feelings on revising my work are the same feelings I have for cooking: I hate the idea of it, leading up to it, and actually beginning it, but once I start it I love it. When it’s my night to cook I loathe the idea of it. I’ll be here at my desk, or on the couch reading, or doing somedamnthing or another and want to do just about anything but cook. That involves planning, and messes, and work. But once I’ve set up my mise en place, once I have the ingredients in my hands and I’ve begun, I have a real enjoyable time. And when my wife and I (or my wife, my daughter, and I) sit down to eat, the enjoyment that is had from my cooking is like a drug, addicting. (Don’t tell my wife any of the stuff I just wrote, she’ll want me to cook all the time).
Revising my writing is the same thing. The novel that I’ve been working on for four years now has taken four years because it took me nearly a year-and-a-half to begin the revising process. Now, that will probably make you believe I am not acting professionally, but I wasn’t just sitting around watching dust gather on my 158,300 word (763 ms pages, Courier New font) manuscript. I was also:
- Getting used to being a teacher.
- Having to relocate abruptly thanks to the economy.
- Working on the pre-publication revisions for Alice on the Shelf.
- Writing, revising, and working on the pre-publication revisions of Shadowed.
- Writing and revising the novella I wrote that was spawned on by Shadowed.
- Going through time-consuming classes to renew my teaching license.
You get the idea. Maybe those are excuses, but they don’t feel like it to me. That explains the (so far) four-year process on this novel. But about a year-and-a-half of it was…well…I’d rather work on a novella than revise that monster, or I’d rather (fill in the blank) than revise that big fuckin’ novel. But alas, the time came and I began and…well…I love working on it.
It’s a monumental task. I decided that a semi-major character was going to be edited out. I decided that two minor characters would pick up some of the slack. I decided that certain plot points were really lame and the new ideas that came from nowhere seemed so much better. It’s like discovering a new spice that really makes the food taste that much better.
So the work continues. I’ve got a 39,000 word second draft (140 pages, Times New Roman font) and growing. And that’s where I am at this moment.
Oh, and those links to Alice on the Shelf and Shadowed above? Both of those books are available and have links on their respective pages for where you can buy them. Those sales make the revisions so much sweeter.