Saturday, March 13, 2010

Revision Woes

I wrote a book a number of years ago. Before vampires were cool. Before young adult books were outrageously successful. There are no vampires in this story but it is a supernatural y/a sort of deal. I let quite a few young adults read it and quite a few young adults seemed to love it. But I left it alone because it wasn't working. I loved that story, it was my baby, but I felt like I had to shelve it because I didn't know what was wrong with it and I definitely didn't know how to fix it.

I got my hands on my original (sort of) manuscript recently and read it like I didn't write it. I devoured the thing fully aware that it was shite but still eager to know what happened next. I did genuinely forget what happened throughout the story so it was fun seeing what younger me had come up with. It was poorer than I originally thought and I still couldn't see a way to fix it so I decided to rewrite the whole thing completely because I loved the characters so much I felt like they deserved to be heard.

This was hard and scary. Harder than I expected. Although I had developed the characters so much beforehand that figuring out their reactions to situations was so much easier. But still, it felt as though I was repeating myself sometimes. And then I remembered that I would have to revise the thing at least a handful of times and that terrified me because I don't do well with boredom and if I have to read and reread and rewrite the same manuscript seven hundred times I'm probably going to give up on it again.

So, it was funny that I came across One Aimless Writer which directed me to the blog of Stephen Parrish who wrote about the huge amount of times he re-wrote his novel. This scared the beJAYsus out of me. His story has a happy ending and goes to show his determination paid off after a huge amount of work. But, how many of us have that kind of resolve? I don't think I do but next time I feel like giving up or shelving something completely, I'll be reading that post again just to prove a point to myself. And hopefully I'll know when it's done :)

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