Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How I Write: Revision

Oddly enough revision is a big deal for me this week. It has taken over my life and I do not want to stop to write about it. I have been in the throws of revision on this same manuscript for nigh on 3 years now. But this week is different. I feel driven in a way I haven't for years. I am cutting cutting cutting away at the last third of my manuscript. If you have been anywhere near me in this Blogosphere you would have heard me say that. Goal = cutting the final 3rd of my book from 30k to 15k words. It is the outline third of my book, not the literal third. If you look at it on a 9 point plot grid, it is the bottom 3 squares. I want to cut half the words away to make it literally one third of all the words in my book. I have cut 6k words and I don't know if I can find 9k more to do. But I am going to try.

When I taught creative writing during my MFA program, one of the ways we graded was on a revision narrative. If my students could really articulate what their revision process was and what they were learning about their writing through that process, it could really bump up their grade. I have often wanted to take that time with my own book, to write a revision narrative time-lining the past three years and what I have learned. Somebody in The Practice Room recently said that revision was a process of layering for them. And for me this layering business has been two fold. Not only am I layering on meaning and tension in my novel. But I am also adding to what I know about writing them. But I find my memory is short and time is in even shorter supply as I really want to get my MC to her final hour.

Next week, revision narrative...