Anatomy of a revision: Day 1

April 27, 2011 at 10:14 am (Anatomy of a revision)

Spent a couple of hours going through the written crits, summarizing each point, and sorting them into two long lists: Minor and Major Issues. There’s a lot of repetition in the Major Issues list; the problems people noticed were generally noticed by everyone (although, in one case at least, there were different responses to the problem, ranging from “this character needs to have an understandable, real arc and motivations” to “please feed this character into a set of rotating blades and then burn what’s left.” I’m going to summarize this as “make the character less of an asshole.”)

This is the part of revision that feels less like working and more like staring out the window a lot. Writing up the crits and rephrasing them — sometimes more harshly, sometimes not — means that I face them and internalize them. That’s great; now I know what’s wrong. Knowing what to do about it is another matter.

Which is why there’s a third list in that document: Potential Fixes. Some of these became apparent as I was getting the crits — swap out the current introduction of one character for something with more explosions and action — or were directly suggested in the crits themselves. Some only become apparent as I’m writing up the list. And some won’t come together for a little while…and, of course, each one means a cascade of other changes that’ll need to be made.

At this stage, I’m usually walking around and talking to myself, making notes, muttering about “well, if this attack happens then and the invasion gets postponed…”  I’m not a big fan of “waiting for the Muse” but this really is a stage where I have all the pieces and need to let them come together.

The whole thing is made more difficult by the copy of Portal 2 on the coffee table, sitting there and giving me sad looks whenever I pass by…


  1. Anne Cross said,

    My copy of Portal 2 sympathizes with your copy of Portal 2. They can go have a beer together while we fail to continue testing.

    (I’m enjoying this look into your steam-powered brain process. Please do continue.)

    • mlronald said,

      We’ll make them some lemonade.

      Glad it’s been interesting. It’ll probably devolve into “scrawled on pages today OH GOD WHY DID I EVER WRITE THIS” soon enough.

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