Friday, October 23, 2015

My love/hate relationship with revisions

I'm going to take a wild guess and say I'm not alone in this.

Part of me loves revisions because there are all these places where I've left notes for myself in my manuscript to 'fix this' or 'bw' (better word) or 'bt' (better transition) or whatever, not to mention all the notes my CP's have left me. These are all opportunities for me to make my manuscript a thousand times better than it was, which is why I love revisions. Because they're going to turn my manuscript from good to great. I know this. I've seen it happen.


Then I get to one of those places* where revising is suddenly a chore. For me it's usually when I've failed to adequately convey the necessary information. Like the scene I'm working on now where my mc has finally found something she's been looking for and is about to get a bunch of answers. In my first version, the dialogue didn't follow. It felt forced.

I know what information needs to be conveyed. The trouble I'm having is revising this so that the conversation she has with the other person seems completely natural. So that each question seems to naturally follow the answer that came before AND convey all that necessary information.

I am making progress (check my progress bar for NO REST and you'll see it's up to 63% complete) but damn sometimes it's slow and hard.

So. That's how it is with me, today.

How's it going with you?

* For me, this is usually somewhere after the first act. I tend to write a fairly decent part one of three (my strength). Part two tends to get loose or fall apart entirely (my weakness) but if I can get through that then part three tries to pull it all together and make an ending, preferably a satisfying one. It isn't pretty, but it is a first draft.


  1. Have you rehearsed the dialogue out loud with someone? Maybe read through first, and then the second time, know only the points you want to cover and let it happen without a script? (Recording it of course. Unless you have an awesome memory.)
    Like smoothing out wrinkles - it will eventually be all smooth.

  2. Being at the revision stage is AWESOME, even if it takes a long time to finish with it. Being at that point means you've already written an entire book worthy of being improved. That's a huge step. Congratulations!

  3. Glad you're making progress. Here's to keep going and reaching your end-goal.

  4. I like Alex's suggestion about reading the dialogue aloud.
    Good luck - and keep going. You have done way too much to stop now.

  5. Hi, Marcy,

    I get how you feel about revision. I am always excited up until about the fourth of fifth revision, When it gets into the double, and even triple digits.... I am totally over it. Yes, i have had over a hundred edits/rewrites on my first novel. UGH....

    Good luck, I know you'll get through it!

  6. I love to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. It's the blank page that makes me crazy. Having to start from scratch. That gives me the willies.

  7. Argh, trying to make those informational scenes sound natural. Best of luck to ya on that!! Maybe you can get it all down in order first, then comb through for readability and "natural-ness." I don't mind revision at all, but YES, ya do get weary of going over the silly thing after dozens of rewrites!!

  8. You know me. I hate first drafts WAY more than revision.

    As for the trouble you're having: Have you considered cutting the whole scene and finding a different way for your character to receive this information? It may involve re-writing a section of your story, which (I know) is painful.

    But if the information-giving scene seems boring or false to you, then it's probably the wrong way to go.

  9. I don't write on the scale you do but I certainly understand burnout. Take some time. Listen to some soul music. Early '70s Stevie Wonder maybe. That usually sorts me out.


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