I’m half revising and half writing, right now. I have a list of scenes that are missing from my manuscript, and I’m writing those scenes. I’m doing fairly well with the writing part, at the moment. A couple hundred words over my lunch hours, and more when I get home, and sometimes, I even have words early in the morning which is not exactly easy for me. I tend to get sidetracked by news, and newsletters, and the occasional outside obligation.
My insecurity kicks in somewhere between writing and revision. I’ve hit the point that I know I can write a book. I have the trunk full of first drafts to prove it. That was a milestone for me. Yes, I can write a story and sustain it over a hundred thousand words.
It’s the editing that gets me. The revising until the thing that entertained me is 1.) Clean enough not to annoy the shit out of other people and 2.) Clean quickly.
I’m fighting all the jerky starts and stops and unseemly chunks that come from being a pantser, and I’m never entirely confident of my ability to do so in a reasonable length of time. I’m not even sure what a reasonable length of time is.
At this exact moment, I’m fighting to revise into something presentable within the next couple of months. (This after having dragged my revision out over a countable eternity.) I am going to pretend to be well organized and disciplined, and hope to have a manuscript ready by then.
I will not chase plot bunnies. I will stick to my color coded index cards. I will approach those yellow cards–the ones that suggest I’m going over my allotted word count–with great trepidation and parsimony.
I will work on one scene at a time, and I will finish it before I move on to the next.
Even if the next one is the good one, where the dragons go to Madame Tussaud’s, and the pixies all wind up covered in melted wax.
So, tell me… was there a particular point at which revision became streamlined and efficient for you? How many goats did you have to sacrifice to bring that about? Hints? Tips? Anything?
p. j. lazos