Friday, August 19, 2011

The Revision Diaries (2)

...week two in the chronicles and confessions of an author on a deadline!

so, as promised (to, um, myself), i truly began revising on Sunday. it was going great. i was trucking along, knocking down those skinny little post-its page by page for a couple days - until i hit a scene that stopped me in my tracks.

this scene needed a fix similar to a scene i'd already revised, so i attacked it in the same way - trimming back paragraphs here and rewriting the language there. but it wasn't working the same as it had worked for the other scene. and no amount of shaking my laptop could shimmy the words into their proper place.
so i got up and walked away for the first time since i'd really started revising.

but unlike with first drafts, or even revisions for my agent or crit partners, when i can walk away for as long as i need to... i knew i couldn't pause for too long. when writing/revising on a deadline, you can only let something sit and stew for so long before - in the immortal words of Tim Gunn - you have to "make it work."

so even though i wasn't sitting at the laptop, whatever i was doing, i forced myself to be thinking/scheming/mentally revising. i schemed while i played iSlash on my phone. i thought hard while watching the Real Housewives of who-knows-where. and i mentally revised while making dinner with Handsome.
(isn't it funny how much thinking/scheming/mentally revising all have in common with procrastinating? huh. wierd.)

but seriously, it was during one of these moments of obvious procrastination that the lightbulb went off. i knew how to fix the scene. i had to completely rewrite it - my first big full-scene makeover in this revision.

but AH! here was a new problem.
i am not one who can edit a single scene in multiple sessions, bouncing in and out of the chapter over the course of a few days. i have to do things in chunks. i needed a good block of time to write the scene AND make sure it was polished, so it wouldn't read like a first draft. but at this point, i was thick into my work week with other obligations looming, and i had not budgeted my week-day writing time for a marathon session - merely for a few sprints.

so with that deadline clock Tic-Toc-Taunting me, i set aside the manuscript for two whole days.

fortunately, i was able to use vacation days from work during this revision period, so i started again Thursday, with 4 full days of nothing but writing time stretching out before me.
and oh boy, did i rewrite that scene! it took the better part of my Thursday and kept me away from the gym and other chores i had hoped to slip in on my day off. but i got it done, and then i went back to sprinting - and smashing those post-its.
today i have a new scene to write and another scene that needs a big re-write, so i hope to be as productive as yesterday.

the only hiccup in my plans will be the carpet cleaners i scheduled to be here this afternoon.
but even if i only write 5 words while they are here, i'm sure i'll still get more done than if i had spent the entire day off cleaning the carpets myself.

i'll be back next week with another installment. (and probably sometime before that when some other random blog post inspiration strikes - i.e. when i need to walk away from the revisions again.)

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