Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making Music with Revision

We are having a discussion on the ACFW loop about revision and rewriting. To me, this is one of my favorite parts of writing. Once I get the story down, I love to go back and find ways to make it stronger. More research may be needed or stronger words, descriptions, emotions which will make the story resonate.
My first draft is like the orchestra warming up. All the parts are there, but there may not be any harmony at all. Then I begin to rewrite and each instrument does it part and a beautiful symphony, concerto, or rhapsody emerges, but there may still be places where things don’t quite fit. These are the rehearsals that correct tempo or timing.
Then my editor gets it and she goes over it with her “editor eyes” and finds the places where a sour note crept in, or a one instrument is trying to take over and the story slogs along. Her suggestions pull everything together to make the finished product ready for the performance.
Even when I get the galleys, I may find a place or two where I think of a better word or find little mistakes that will mar the finished piece. Wish I could say I always find them and correct them before the final, but things do slip by.
Going back and adding sensory detail, emotions, snippets of setting, more beats than tags, and maybe going deeper into POV is fun for me. Maybe there are others like me who just want the story to come out then go back and fill in the notes to make music that will take people away to another time and another place.
What say you? What are your feelings about the revision/rewriting part of your writing?


Bruce Hennigan said...

Working with my editor on the rewrite process was, at first, scary. I felt like I had made so many mistakes and that my book should just be trashed. But, after looking at his suggestions, I realized he was acting more like a collaborator. I have collaborated on books before. When I made that paradigm shift, it became a welcome challenge. And, if was fun! It was like getting permission to change things for the better in ways I would have been afraid to before. He asked me to make some things "scarier" and "add more hauntings" which was like asking me to put some more icing on my cake! It was a lot of hard work, but it was a blast!

Jillian Kent said...

I'm exhausted from revisions at the moment and still going strong. I love the process, but I'm always wanting to change one more thing to make the novel stronger, or more romantic, or more suspenseful. But sooner or later we have to let go and get on to the next one.

Martha W. Rogers said...

So true, Jillian. I do make minor changes even in the galleys when I see a word repeated in the same paragraph or think of a better word. Oh, and I do find mistakes. Grr.