Today I want to talk about revisions. Having just finished several rounds of this - although, in my mind, I call them soul-sucking-changes-that-I-barely-manage-to-survive - I've figured out the secrets. Seriously. And yes, that is plural. There isn't just one method to coming out on the other side of the tunnel, squinting up at the sun and wondering how on earth you actually did it. Ready? Here it is, exclusively on S.L.O.W. (How cool is that acronym, by the way?)
1. Focus on one piece at a time.
I think sometimes - wait, scratch that, all the time - we just want to have a finished manuscript. We've toiled over the first draft. Isn't it enough that we managed to write an entire book? People actually expect us to dive back into the abyss? Granted, we've been advised to step away from it for a while before doing this. But still. The prospect of rewriting and changing the very words we agonized over is daunting.
So the solution is simple. We can't scramble to have that perfect book. It's a process. One step at a time. One paragraph, one scene, one page, one chapter. Clean up the mess in parts. For example, focus on sentence structure first. Then maybe tackle those bizarre punctuation mistakes. After that, we should probably hunt down those typos. (I literally turned in a manuscript with the sentence, I killed two stones with one bird. No joke.)
This whole revisions thing doesn't feel so huge if we take a hammer to it and shatter it into itty-bitty pieces, right?
2. Take breaks.
Again, most writers want to be done and be done now. As a result, some of us tend to sit at the computer for hours, until our butts are numb and our eyesight is permanently damaged from staring at the screen so long. Basically, we just can't become this:
If you have to set a timer, do it. Whether your break is every ten minutes or once an hour. Whatever it takes for you to regroup. Have a cup of coffee. Watch the episode of Vampire Diaries that's been sitting on your DVR for the past week. Take the poor, neglected dog for a walk. (Not now, Lewis, I'm trying to write a blog post! Later, okay?)
Anyway. If we step away every so often, there's a good chance when we sit back down, things will be clearer. You'll finally figure out how your main character escaped that prison when you pretty much made it impossible. Turns out, she can walk through walls. Who knew?
3. Keep your treats on hand.
Good luck, you guys! Let me know how it works out.
Kelsey Sutton has done everything from training dogs, making cheeseburgers, selling yellow page ads, and cleaning hotel rooms. Now she divides her time between her full-time college classes and her writing, though she can also sometimes be found pounding out horrible renditions of Beethoven on the piano and trying bizarre drinks at her local coffee shop. Kelsey lives in northern Minnesota with her dog and cat, Lewis and Clark. She is represented by Beth Miller of Writer's House, and her debut YA novel SOME QUIET PLACE is forthcoming from Flux in 2013. You can add it on Goodreads here!
Drop her an email @: firstname.lastname@example.org
And visit her on her blog at www.kelseysutton.blogspot.com