Do You Revise Like a Pro(crastinator)?
Written by
Hallie Sawyer
February 2011
Written by
Hallie Sawyer
February 2011
My novel has been collecting dust on my desk while I have started a short story, a memoir (1500 words or less) for a local writing contest, read multiple books, and have reviewed some books. Before you praise me for being so productive, all I've really accomplished is postponing my manuscript's revision while adding a lot more irons to the fire.

I started revising last week then put the pages aside rather quickly. I was crossing out more than I was keeping. But it isn't about wanting to keep the words, it's about all of the time I spent writing and researching them that I want back. All of that time I spent researching a certain setting ended up getting whacked. That character that seemed important at the beginning, gone-dola. Talk about a bloody mess. My manuscript is starting to resemble a typical Soprano's episode more than a story. Revising could easily be psychopath's practice run. Whack, whack, whack.

My flight response is telling me to pick up every book on revising, editing, plot, structure, theme, hooks, and creating great characters and study my butt off. I am still reading a couple of craft books but I have found is that I need to keep writing for all of that to make sense. My fight response is telling me to just get in there, use my instinct, and learn along the way. Those books are there for reference guides, for now. I think my second draft is still just figuring out my story.

When I finished the first draft, I had a better vision of what I wanted to happen. My revisions need to make sure the story flows again and gets from point A to point B without leaving my readers along the ditch somewhere. I plan on using Donald Maass's two books, Fire in Fiction, and Writing The Breakout Novel and workbook, to help me get from second to third draft.

But the whole process is rather daunting. Whack, insert idea, whack, whack, cut and paste, whackity-whack-whack. Will I have any story left when I am done?!

Hence, my procrastination. I'm afraid I'll whack the whole thing and have nothing left.

Writers: Are you a pro at revising or a procrastinator? What fears do you have of the process? What works for you?

How did you learn how to revise? By getting in there and doing it or did you have a more methodical plan?

[photo courtesy of Flickr/Rosa Say]

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