Friday, January 20, 2006

One step closer

Yesterday I finished writing the fourteen page document that outlines my plans for revising False Perceptions. This novel was written with the 2004 2yn class at Forward Motion. I revised it last summer and sent it out to critiquers, from whence it has recently returned. Shock of all shocks it isn't perfect yet. Hard to believe, I know. It seems to me I should have been able to see some of these issues for myself, but as a writer you get very close to a story and you think that certain things are clear. After all, you see them clearly in your own mind. The difference between what I see in my mind and what I type into my keyboard apparently can be quite startling. Not only that, but there were fudge areas. Did I think my readers wouldn't notice that the plot had some soft spots?

In planning this second revision, I referred back and forth between manuscript and crits thereof and broke down what needs to be changed in each scene. I'm embarrassed to think how few scenes were completely nailed and just need a minor grammar brush. Several scenes will be pretty much trashed and started over; some will sport new settings and some changes in characters. And I'm not off the hook on the 90% of the middlin' ones, either. Many of them will require extensive work as well. One of my two main characters (yo, Treyan, are you listening?) will require a personality upgrade, and two others need less extensive facelifts. A few need to be re-named.

As I went through the novel and found holes, I flipped back and forth in the revision plan to find places to plug them. However (another big surprise...) when I got to The End and read back through the plan, I see that there are still issues in there that haven't been addressed. Holes that haven't been plugged. There are less holes, and the ones remaining are smaller, but it isn't water-tight yet by any means. I've printed out The Plan so I can continue to work over it the next week, during which time I will be computer-less again for a few days.

This is not the fun part of the job. Anyone have any tips? How do YOU map out revisions?


Jean said...

Tell me again how you do that...Maybe I can learn something (as she sits down to read the post over and over again in search of enlightenment).

Valerie Comer said...

Right, Jean. You give me too much credit. If the post was confusing, it's probably because *I* am still confused about the process. So maybe I should say, if you can make sense of it, let me know!

Jean said...

Are you SURE you're not talking about my novels? You didn't get one of mine by accident, did you? Because I could have sworn you just described Twilight, PBOTL, and T&T.

It's the revision plan I'm trying to figure out how to do for my stuff. I haven't found a way that makes sense for me yet.

Grin. We'll get it.

Karenee said...


Don't ask me!

LOL I have to admit that every time I go through a section of my story to make sure I'm tying things together properly, I find myself revising already. Is that strange? I fully intend to do a revision run before I ever send it out.

*sigh* It's awful how much I can see without any help... what on earth will happen to my poor story when I release it for critique???

Katie Hart said...

MAP out revisions? I'm lucky if I actually do them. I write like ceramics class - dump my thoughts onto paper, let it sit and harden, clean out a few bits of junk, then bake it. And hope the glaze of publishing covers any imperfections.

BTW, your post title has the Linkin Park song running through my head.

Valerie Comer said...

Jean, I'm *pretty* sure I wrote this mess myself. I think you have to revise your own novel!

Karen, it's a GOOD thing that you can find stuff that needs fixing all by yourself. Don't waste critters' eyes on the things you can deal with by yourself.

Katie, the problem is... the glaze of publishing won't even flow over stories with gaping holes, so it can't fill them in and make it presentable. Good analogy though!