Monday, October 26, 2009

I Have A Love Hate Relationship With...

...Revisions and Rewrites.

First the Pros. I love getting into revisions and rewrites because:


  • They always result in a much smoother piece of literature.
  • Critique partners offer enormous insight and I want to incorporate many of their suggestions to make the story come alive.
  • Lost or dropped threads need a second, third, or fourth chance at getting found and being carried throughout the novel.
  • The only way I ever come close to writing concisely is by axing in the revision and rewrite stage.
  • Important layers that I never thought to put in initially shine bright in the revision stage.
  • Scene transitioning gets a nice finishing polish.
  • And, characterization and setting details get fine tuned and overhauled to perfection here.

Those are my top reasons for loving the revision and rewrite stage. Are yours similar, or different? Please, do tell. What do you concentrate on during the revision stage of writing? Do you revise in layers, or are you more the salad-bowl type, mix in a multitude of upgrades all at once?

On Wednesday, we'll take a look at the hate side. Hint: When an overwhelming destructive feeling attacks every ounce of your confidence and drive, how do you overcome it and write on?



Surrendering to Him,

Eileen


P.S. My laptop is back from the doctor, all fixed, and my data unaffected. Just cost me a little stress and a cheque I hadn't budgeted for. Praise God for small mercies!

32 comments:

Diane said...

Glad your laptop is back. God's eye is on you, even in the little things. :O)

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Eileen,

That's a great positive list! Since we tend to think of our edits in mostly a negative light, I appreciate your upbeat attitude today! I definitely need that! And actually, as I'm working through my rewrites, I'm finding myself "enjoying" them, if that's possible! I have all of the changes I need to make on a very, very big spreadsheet! So knowing the big picture helps me as I go through and tackle the changes chapter by chapter, scene by scene.

Glad your laptop is back!

Rebecca Nazar said...

I'm not a big fan of rewrites, honestly. Maybe I'm such a perfectionist I can't relax and enjoy it.

Happy and healthy lap topping! :-)

Tabitha Bird said...

I too have a love hate relationship with rewrites. The love part is much the same as your list. I love the chance to add in, change and make the thing shiny. But then I get scared that I am not a good enough writer to actually do any of that and so then I loathe the process... *sigh*

Joanne said...

Before I begin a major revision, I always put some time between myself and the manuscript. It's amazing the inconsistencies that become visible once you've separated from the work and come back to it with fresh eyes. I do concentrate on the threads, making sure they work themselves throughout the story.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, I'm so happy for you, Dear Elieen. What a relief!

I try to revise in layers, but I'm too distracted to work like that. I run all over the place and fix whatever pops out at me. Oh well.

T. Anne said...

I'm in revisions mode right now and what I'm finding is the fourth or fifth rewrite is much more enjoyable. That's when I can go back and add fun tags, comments, dialogue etc... It's the initial rewrites that cause the pain.

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm so glad to hear your laptop is fixed and that you didn't lose any files. That's great news. Being deep in the revision stage right now, I know exactly what you mean. My list of loves is similar to your. Can't wait to hear your hates. :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I love it because it makes my writing better. I get really excited as I edit and see the writing strengthen. It gives me hope that someone will leap at my story one day. I hate it because...

Well, I'll comment on that on Wed! :0)

Georgiana said...

I desperately need my crit partners. I have one who reads chapter by chapter (3 or 4 times per week) and finds all my silly mistakes and offers insight as the story unfolds. Then I have one partner who reads the entire book when it's finished and gives me big picture feedback that could only be seen when reading the whole book. I love how my buds are gentle and point out the good as well as the bad. God has blessed me!!! (Waving at Erica and Betsy!)

Natalie said...

I revise all at once--everything from story to word usage is fair game. This is probably why it takes me fifty passes to get it right! I could definitely benefit from a bit of organization. :)

Anna said...

Yeah for working laptops!!

As for rewrites, it's a matter for me of reading through the MS, then seeing, usually by chapters, what is necessary, what needs to be fixed. What did I add that later I contradicted, etc; that sort of thing, plus just basic reworking of sentences that need assistance.

Once I've read through, then I go to work. What I find is after a few goes, then I can really settle in and do the big work where it's needed.

Laura Frantz said...

Wonderful list, Eileen! I'm currently working on edits for my third novel and am enjoying them though I like the creative rush of getting it all down on paper for the first time best. I sure pray a lot through the process and ask His annointing on my work. He always delivers:)

Candee Fick said...

After the distance of time and sending it to my crit groups, I revise in layers but all at once. I don't have a spreadsheet like Jody but I print out a hard copy of the book and pull out different colored pens.

I read it straight through with fresh eyes and mark stuff that bugs me. Critique partner comments get marked in one color. Different subplot threads, quirks, characterization, deeper motivations, sensory and setting details, and assorted other notes to myself about adding a hooks, etc. ALL get marked on the hard copy in colorful ink or with sticky notes. Like if I make a note to add something in chapter 10 then I add more notes in other places to make that thread consistent.

Then, I tackle the book from the beginning and fix everything as I go forward. I tried fixing just one type of thing at a time, but found myself jumping around in the book and inadvertently dropping threads or messing up something I'd just fixed for a different reason. Arggh!

I think I like rewrites because they make the writing stronger - but only when they're DONE.

Julie Dao said...

I agree point for point with all of the items on your list :) I'm also torn between loving and hating rewrites. I find that the sooner I revise after I've written the draft, the more painful it is to cut things out. I always start a new project and then come back to the draft. For some reason this helps me a great deal with the revision process.

Cindy said...

I don't particularly enjoy the idea of rewrites but I love the outcome. I used to try to do all my revisions in one giant swoop but now I edit in layers and it's proven much more productive. From that, I'm learning a lot about pacing and cutting out unnecessary scenes or POV's.

So happy your laptop is back!

Erica Vetsch said...

Yay for healthy laptops!!! Thank you, Lord!

And yay for revisions and rewrites. I'm learning more and more to embrace those editor letters and crit partner comments. Rewrites make my work better. And it needs it!

Tamika: said...

Eileen, writing has a lot of angles that pose a love/hate relationship for me. I agree to all the positives you named I see the bright side of each one.

Danyelle said...

I hate revisions, but your list is exactly why they're such a necessary evil. ;) I love the feeling I get when I look at a finely polished manuscript. It makes all the hard times during the revisions worth it.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I enjoy the revision stages. Sometimes I spend too much time there - not moving forward as I should. Also, my ideas and feelings about the character often change, mature, might be a better word. New direction then needed.

Crimey said...

I too have a love/hate relationship with the revision stage. Sometimes suggestions from my critique group can become overwhelming when I realize just how much more work I have to put in a chapter. After it's done though; the chapter is always better.

Need More Words said...

Glad you have your laptop back, with nothing missing.
Diane

Terri Tiffany said...

I have no method for my revision madness--I just read it over and over and over until I am satisfied!

Jill Kemerer said...

I revise in layers. I start with plot and character issues, move down to individual scenes, then tackle line edits. I'm very, very thankful for my critique partners!

And to answer your last question, I've been there. I still get thrown back there. The only thing that works for me is to just keep writing. Even if I have to go through the motions, I do it, because I have to believe my dream of becoming a published author will come true, and it won't come true unless I'm writing.

Take care!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

I'm so glad you have your computer back. BTW, I see you're almost finished with your book. Wonderful!

For me, the hard work of writing is revisions. I'm definitely the toss the salad in the air type. I think it comes with the territory for an SOTP writer. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Yaya' s Changing World said...

When I do revisions, I tend to get something of an 'Attitude,' I think. Oh, not with the people around me. Nope! I'm not a fighter, at heart. But doing revisions makes me get such an attitude towards my characters! Suddenly, I find myself not willing to take any guff off of anybody... and that is SO out of character for me. :-)
Those are about the only times I ever have fights with anyone.
~ Yaya

http://yayashome.blogspot.com

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I do like rewriting, though thus far it has been at my own discretion. I'll see how I feel the first time I'm asked to do a rewrite with which I disagree!

Rewriting is fun because I can pretend to myself that it came out that way, that I always write polished prose and never overwrite anything. Heh heh.

VR Barkowski said...

So glad to hear you have your computer back - and no data loss - what a relief!

I'm resigned to rewrites. In fact I start rewriting in my head even before a draft is complete. I definitely revise in layers. The first draft is like a dull knife and every time I go back in, the story becomes sharper. I usually go in three times to achieve a smooth MS. At that point I turn it over to my critiquing partner. After it passes muster with her, it goes to a group. Then I hone it to add voice and rhythm. It's an endless process that feeds my OCD. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Eileen, I don't like rewrites, but I love what comes of them. It's the gettin' there that I'm not fond of. The pulled out hair, the sweaty brow, and the pounding headache. :) I love knowing that I am fleshing out my story. And if I think in my mind that it isn't really a fifth or sixth revision, but a brand new story, which it often is, then I forge ahead knowing how sweet the end result will be. And at the end of your post...your question. I have that happen all the time. I have some things that I have to do to pull out of it.:)

Oh, and Where the Wild Things Are should be in Canada soon? And the picture book is so good, Eileen. I recommend you get it. Talk to you soon. :)

Jessica said...

Well, now I feel bad because I thought I hit all the blogs I follow yesterday, but somehow I missed yours... :-( Sorry about that.
On a brighter note, yay that your laptop is fixed!!

Revisions are similar for me. I love the polishing and reworking of things. I really love your salad bowl metaphor! That's me, all the way. LOL

Jennifer Shirk said...

I share all those Pros!
I edit in layers. I look at each character arc, then I look at motivations and conflict, etc.. Then I can take a look at the whole for flow and pace.

Suko said...

Thanks for putting a positive spin on this process!