Revision: Day One

January 18, 2012 at 8:36 am (Writing work)

Twenty-seven chapters. Roughly 101,000 words. It’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

First step is really kind of silly: change the font. This really belongs more on a list of Stupid Revision Tricks than anything else, but it’s an effective trick for me. If what’s on the screen doesn’t quite look like what’s on the page, then to get from one change to the next I have to read, rather than scan, meaning that in theory I catch more problems. It’s not foolproof by any means, but it’s one of the little things that help me at this stage.

I’m working from a full draft with changes marked in pen.  The comments on the paper manuscript are anything from a careful line edit to large swathes struck out and new scenes outlined in the margins to “NO” written several times over dialogue that hasn’t held up well.

Chapter One goes down quickly, but that’s because it’s more of an introduction than anything else. Three pages is hardly a challenge. I’m a little unsure of how well it draws into the story, but since this book follows hard on the heels of the other, that may be less of an issue. Chapter Two is a little easier, oddly enough. I even get a couple of pages into chapter three before it’s time for work.

Twenty-four and a half chapters to go.

Sample comments from the manuscript:

[Character] should be mentioned here
Split off mention of nightmares; add more of relationship to [character]
Only mention [past event] here — rehashed several times in previous chapter; cut those
Not your phrase*
Unlikely detail for something this small
No literature department in this school
Where is everyone in room?

* I run into this a lot. I’ll come across an awesome phrase or metaphor, file it away, and then use it without remembering where I got it from. This is the stage where I catch it, usually with a groan of “I quoted that?”

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