Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eating The Elephant

Revising almost 400 pages feels impossible. Never mind that I'm the one who wrote them in the first place, pulling each word out of thin air. That part seems so easy compared with making those words better. To deleting some of those hard fought for words and adding (praise the goddess, is it possible?) more words. How does anyone ever get through all this?

One word at a time, of course. One page. One scene. One chapter. One book. Easy peasy.

Of course, it's not quite that linear. What in writing really is? But it is still possible to break it down into steps. [See goals at left.] As I read through the manuscript, I realized that not only are there things that need to go or be expanded or contracted, but that I have a few missing scenes as well. One small bite of the elephant is going to be roughing those out and setting them in place so they can be polished with their respective chapters.

Then put the extras (journal entries, etc) where they belong throughout the main narrative.

I plan to use the hard copy to mark up. After about 100 pages, I'll transcribe into the computer. Then the next 100 and so on. This will actually give me 2 revisions for the price of 1. Once on the hard copy and then again when I type it in. Because I always find something when I'm transcribing.

When I lay it out like that, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. And I need it to not feel like a big deal.

Any other tricks you've discovered to help tackle "impossible" jobs?