Notes on Revision

I have removed a third of my manuscript. The act of cutting was clean. I took chapters I have never felt good about and simply did not transfer them to my new draft. I also stopped numbering my drafts because they are getting perilously close to the double digits.

I can keep my last chapter. It is only half-written anyway, but it gives me the feeling that I at least know where I’m going to end up. I’ve deleted a storyline, so there may be even fewer loose ends than there were. But there are gaps, lordy, there are gaps.

Now I have to go back and reshape my chapters. I feel as if I am trapped back in September. I need to look at storyline and write more pointed text. But even if I feel as if I were moving backward (which I don’t, quite), I need to believe that I am moving forward. Every time I solve a writing problem, I become a better writer. Right?

And I take comfort from the words by Leigh Newman about revising her memoir:

“What was left to do was a lot of huge, ugly, much-needed cuts, lots of rewriting, sobbing, and more rewriting.”

(Still Points North is a great book, you should look for it.)

What direction are you moving?

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10 responses to “Notes on Revision

  1. Yes! Every time you solve a writing problem, you level up.

    I’m inching forward, though I did go back and rearrange one chapter this morning—I still count that as progress!

    I don’t usually have holes, I have excess and Möbius strips and characters who wander away off to craft services because I’ve forgotten to give them something to do.

    I hate pulling characters. They’re like dandelions.

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