Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How do you do it? Learning to revise and rewrite.

My current WIP is a YA fantasy novel. This is the first novel length project that I have taken on and has been quite the learning experience.

When I started writing this piece I took the advice of many authors and writing books and I just sat down and transfered the ideas from my head to the page. That part was fun.

But I'll never forget when I sat down to revise what I had written. Though I still liked the story idea, the writing was horrible! There, before me sat 50,000 ugly, misplaced words waiting for me to give them a makeover. This was the hard part. There was so much to change, I grew very anxious trying to figure out how I was going to take all those words and make them worthy of submission. I was overwhelmed at the thought. I struggled to find a revision routine, but when I did, things really started to fly! I'm now ahead of where I thought I would be and I'm almost done with the second draft of the entire MS. Just 6 more chapters to go!!!!!!! I finished my chapter 22 rewrite last night.

What ended up working for me was that I just took one small section at a time. Sometimes it was just a sentence, sometimes it was an entire paragraph, depending on how much neede to be rewritten.

Once I'm done with the full second draft, I will do a third. Then it will go to my critique group, then to my husband and my parents, then I'll try to find someone to read it who will just say "wow. This is really good." so I can get up the nerve to send it out. :0) Who knows how many drafts it will take to get to that point!? I was happy to read somewhere that Avi does 50-70 rewrites on his work. It looks like an exhausting amount, but I think that will probably be the amount I end up with too.

I'd love to hear how other people tackle their rewrites. How many drafts do you go through? Any suggestions? How do you know when you're ready to send it out?


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting as far as you have! You should feel good about that!


Laura said...

It usually takes me 3 or 4 drafts. But I spend a lot of time on each draft. Good luck with your book.