Have I mentioned my love-hate relationship with revision? Okay, so maybe it’s just a hate relationship. But I didn’t want it to be this time. I wanted to enjoy the process, and not be so concerned about finishing the stupid thing. So I decided to come up with a new method.
Perhaps I should explain how I’ve handled revision in the past. It’s pretty simple: Write the book. Read through the book. Change the things that don’t flow well or make sense. Read through it again, change it again, and on and on, until you can’t come up with anything else to change.
I don’t like this method for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t allow for a very thoughtful approach to editing--you just dive right in, with no goggles, no wetsuit, and change whatever you feel like changing. Second, it relies too heavily on the first draft. Since you don’t plan for any major rewrites, you often don’t do any major rewrites, and the first draft’s overall structure remains largely intact.
This time, I’ve been trying to take a more thoughtful, less first-draft-oriented approach. I came up with a revision outline. I decided to focus on the biggest issue first, and then the next biggest, and then the next, until I get down to line editing the prose. But this hasn’t been working, either. I’m getting too bogged down in the minutiae when I’m supposed to be dealing with the bigger stuff. And I’m making myself batty. (Just ask my son and husband.)
So I’m asking for your help. I’d love to hear a bit about how you handle revision. How do you break down/build up your first drafts? And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received on the topic?
Please, enlighten me.