Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Revising looks a lot like writing

I am starting to revise the novel now. I am acting like I know how to do this, but I'm pretty clueless. First I read the whole thing and took notes on stuff that jumped out at me that needed to be changed. Then, I organized/cleaned out my closet. Because you can't possibly revise a novel when you have a messy closet (duh). Then I bought a cute notebook to put my novel in. It matches my desk chair and everything. And finally, I bought a big box of my drug of choice while writing/editing: Swiss Miss (marshmallow lovers).

So, I have a list of things I need to fix, but I don't feel like I can just go back to those sections and fix things and be done. For some reason, I feel like I have to literally rewrite the whole book. So, that's what I'm doing. I'm retyping the whole thing and adding and deleting stuff as I go. I feel like I know my characters so much better now, so it's easier to add things about them that never would've occurred to me to add in the first draft.

When I was writing the first draft, it felt like I was sculpting something, like I was forming a story out of a big blob of nothing. Now, this time around, I feel like I am painting a picture from a sketch. Like, the general outline is there, but now I have to fill in with shadows and color and give it dimension so that it feels like these people are living and breathing and their story is real. I don't know any other way to approach it other than just taking it one word at a time. So, that's what I'm doing.

To help me finish this revision as quickly as possible, I'm participating in National Novel Editing Month. Jealous? It's not nearly as hype as National Novel Writing Month. It's hard to get that excited about editing. But, for me, it's pretty exciting to think that if I do the 50 hours of editing that I've pledged to do this month, I will hopefully be done editing my book and ready to send it out into the world finally. So far this month I've logged four hours of editing time. Only 46 more hours to go! Hopefully, by the end of this month, I'll have more than just a full-blown Swiss Miss addiction. Ugh, I hope so. I'm ready to send this story out and have other people read it for a change.


Pamela Ehrenberg said...

That uproarious applause coming from DC? It's for you!! Woo-hoo!!!

gwen1234 said...

It's coming from Ithaca, too! I, for one, cannot wait to read the story. And I think that no one really knows how to do this -- edit or write or anything. If retyping is working for you, then you are doing it right.

Wooo go Elizabeth! You are awesome.

Sarah McBride said...

Lots of applause from Austin also. I can't wait for it to be one of our book club books, since your mother and mother-in-law are in the same club. Way to go, Elizabeth.

melissa said...

Ooh, editing month. That's a good idea.

Jennifer said...

Brava from Italy, too! I can't wait to read it either, so I hope it all goes well!