Friday, August 26, 2011

The Revision Diaries (3)

this week's installment of the revision diaries (confessions of an author on a deadline!) reads a little like a Goofus and Gallant episode.

side note -- Goofus and Gallant, for those who did not grow up with Highlights magazine, are two boys who get placed in a situation with choices. Goofus always chooses the irresponsible path, while Gallant is more thoughtful.

side note to the side note -- as a kid, i always pronounced it Goofus and Gal-AHNT, because i'm fancy like that.

totally off-topic tangent -- when i was growing up, G&G were drawn with pencils in black and white. but i just checked out the website for Highlights magazine, and those boys are full-color computer graphics now! and guess what else? you can totally play a G&G "choose your own adventure" game online! i played it... twice.

okay, back on topic!

Friday, i was oh-so GalAHNT. i wrote and revised and wrote and revised again. new scenes. reworked scenes. continuity checks. word choices. i stayed on schedule and did not get distracted. very responsible author this day.

Saturday, i woke up a Goofus. i was exhausted from two full days of revisions and decided to put off writing until the afternoon. i ran errands, did chores, chilled out with Handsome. typical Saturday stuff. except this was not supposed to be a typical Saturday, because the Tic-Tock-Deadline-Clock waits for no weekend!
of course, my day got away from me until only the evening was left. at that point, i had to choose between revisions and poker night with friends.
i won the first game, lost the second. net gain: fifteen dollars.

Sunday, the Gallant on my shoulder came to the rescue. i wrote from practically sun up to well after sundown.
and... i finished.
i know! crazy! i so didn't deserve the satisfaction of being done after my Goofus Saturday, but there it is. i reached The End - again. and then i panicked. Goofus and Gallant were perched on each of my shoulders, having an argument:

Goofus: we're done! press send and let's go celebrate.
Gallant: maybe we should have a crit partner look at those scenes we're still concerned about first.
Goofus: naw! we're tired of revising. let's play some more poker.
Gallant: but we haven't fully addressed that one issue our editor mentioned. let's go back to page one and --
Goofus: you're boring!
Gallant: maybe i am, but if we work just a little harder, hopefully no one will say the BOOK is boring.
*poof* Goofus disappears in a ball of smoke.

actually, i compromised. Gallant isn't always right, and he is a little boring sometimes. so i sent the questionable scenes to a crit partner and took Monday and Tuesday to be a Goofus. i hit the gym, hung out with my gal pals and relaxed with Handsome.

Wednesday, i spent all night dealing with that issue Gallant had mentioned until i was satisfied.
Thursday, i thought long and hard about a possible big change i had proposed to my editor and ultimately decided against it (because, among other reasons, i realized my editor is much much smarter than i am.) i tossed out my outlined changes and polished up the newly revised manuscript instead. and THEN i pressed send. Goofus and i are going to have a blast this weekend.

so that's the end of the Revision Diaries for now.
i'm in uncharted waters on this path to publishing, but i hear there are often several rounds of revisions, then copy edits, then bound pages, ARCs, etc... so i expect this "author on a deadline" will have more confessions to come.


Kathy Ann Coleman said...

I just wanted to let you know that listening to someone else going through revision is very helpful to me. I'm revising my first novel. I'm not on an official deadline but I still have to remember to treat it the same way I treated writing my book. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

It always feels so large and daunting and scary but knowing that I'm not the first writer doing this and that I won't be the last takes off the pressure a little. It can just be really tough knowing if you are making the right choices. (Although that's why I have backups of everything...)

Anyway, great series of blog posts. Have a great day! :)

E.J. Wesley said...

Props on the mad poker and revision skills, EJ! BIC method always wins in the end, but who's to say you can't take a breather in between BIC sessions? I see no written rules ...

I can't believe Highlights are not pencil drawn any more! It would bring a tear to my eye if age hadn't withered my tear ducts to pinholes. :-) To the good ol' days!

erinjade said...

Kathy, i'm so glad it's helpful, and you are definitely not alone! :) you are doing the right thing being disciplined about your revisions and YES! hang on to those backups. sometimes, when the choice to cut or rewrite a scene is really difficult, i'll take the original scene and give it its own file on my laptop. that way, if the choice is all wrong, i can always just pop it right back into the manuscript. it's a good security blanket when i'm scared of making changes.

EJ, crazy about Highlights, right?! you should totally check out the G&G "choose your own adventure" online. it's a good time waster. ;)

Heather Anastasiu said...

Dang girl, that was a FAST edit turnaround!!! Rock out you and the Gallant side of yourself, yep, sometimes that kind of Uber Responsible voice is a good thing, especially when on deadline :)

I'm finishing what I think will be my last round of edits this week, and it's freaking me out (I'm like, oh crap, these are my LAST CHANCES to change things, to fix everything and make it P.E.R.F.E.C.T.) Then my Goofus side comes out and says "F it, time for some wine" -- lol, okay maybe Highlight's children mag Goofus wouldn't have said that, I take liberties :)

erinjade said...

thanks Heather! and WOOHOO for possible final round of edits. :D

by the way, i totally think Goofus drops f-bombs like crazy. Highlights just edits them out. ;)