Reflection on Revision Progress

Finally the NaNoWriMo site has started to put stuff up for their Now What Months for the revision process. Took them long enough. Still isn’t much to look at. I guess my biggest complaint is that it’s lacking the drive and energy it has during the NaNoWriMo event. It’s like an event that doesn’t exist – I mean it does but it doesn’t. It’s here but it isn’t. If you have an account on the site, click the link to see what I mean.

It feels anti-climatic to me. It’s like, “Here pour your guts out onto the page and forge it into a novel and then when it’s all over we’ll have this secret event that’s suppose to help you with the hardest part of the work.” It’s just weird. I realize that the organization is all about getting people to write in the first place BUT if you can’t get your novel to go anywhere then where is the incentive to come back and encourage others to go through this for the first time?

So far I have put in 14 hours of going over my novel. It’s strictly been just reading it and labeling the scenes. I’ve read every word, every episode, every page once through thus far. So as it is in its current form I have 20 Episodes (chapters) with 80 scenes. I listed out the pages numbers for each scene and which episode the scene was in as well. The scenes are not consistent in length – not sure if that’s an issue yet. AND the episodes are not consistent in the number of scenes they contain either – again I’m not sure if that’s an issue yet. Just something I have on my radar for the time being.

For now though I plan on focusing on which scenes belong to the main plot line and which scenes belong to subplots. I have my list with all the scenes listed so now I can just mark each one for the plot or subplot it belongs to. Hopefully this should give me a clear idea of what needs to be developed or removed since the only thing I outlined for NaNoWriMo was the main plot – well I might have outlined two subplots so I could work in the planned plot twists but this is why I need to figure out which scenes belong to what and build a new outline.

My brother told me today that he hasn’t even looked at my draft yet. I probably shouldn’t have given it to anyone yet when I am just starting out with the revision process but I would have liked a second opinion on the last few chapters of the book in regards to some things – particularly from the info dump on – before I started to seriously chop up the draft and rework shit. I asked my brother because I thought he would be less busy than my sister. A mistaken assumption on my part.

Why my siblings? Why not a stranger? They understand how my brain works and I feel that often times they can see what I’m trying to do even if I’m failing to do it. A stranger simply cannot do that. Especially given the fact a stranger isn’t likely to have grown up in our particular brand up cultural upbringing which I have no doubt colors my writing (and fiction) whether I like it or not.

Yes the vomit draft is posted in episodic form over at my Experiment #5 blog and anyone is free to read and comment on it at this point in time. I’m not going to discount your opinion just because you’re not my sibling. I was just hoping that I could brainstorm with one of them. It’s just I know my sister is ultra busy so I didn’t feel comfortable asking her. Turns out my brother is mega busy too. I wanted something more polished before taking it to a stranger for review. I would like to think of it as professionalism but I think it’s more likely nerves.

Writing vomit drafts is what I do. It’s a thing with me. I’m good at it. Revision… not so much. That’s an art I tend to avoid unless I have to do it. And I’m talking about true revision here. Not line or copy editing. I mean the get your eye balls deep into the mess of your work and rip it to shreds to put it back together into something magnificent. I don’t normally bother with that shit. I normally leave my work in its raw form. Call me lazy. I’ll own it but for years my brain honestly believed I didn’t need to for creative work.

And if your goal isn’t to get published I suppose there isn’t a need. It’s just becomes a snapshot of your mind and ought to stay in its raw form as is. But this is different. The goal has changed. Whether I get it published or not I would like to see it in its final, polished form. Okay, scratch that. I want and need to see it published. That means I have to rip this up and put it back together. I have to do the work and polish it. It cannot remain in its raw form.

So while revision isn’t a new territory for me, I’m still feeling somewhat adrift out here in a really big ocean. I didn’t mind writing my novel alone. I didn’t mind not going to write ins or workshops or whatever. But this… I seriously wish that they had equivalents for it.

7 thoughts on “Reflection on Revision Progress

    • I don’t know maybe it’s just that October, November, and December were just so fucked up crazy intense and now here I am in January and even my calendar looks EMPTY this month. I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t want to say I’m bored but I think that just may be my problem, which is incredibly rare for me.

  1. I wish the NaNo site was more organized with the What Now Months too; it’s really disappointing to lose the community and sense of support every year. I actually prefer revising to writing the first draft – I’m a perfectionist – but it would still be nice to feel like everyone was doing it with me.

    • I need more feedback and interaction during the revision process than I do during the initial writing process. So yeah this is my first experience with NaNo and I’m finding myself really just struck by how they amp you up during November, tell you to rest during December with the promise of revision in January, January comes and nothing is really happening. It’s a lost feeling I guess is the best way to put it.

  2. Pingback: Self Assessment of the Revision Process – Experiment #5

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