Monday, August 27, 2012

Writer's Fear #27: Messing up the 8th Revision

Tip of the Day: Check out Nathan Bransford's The Publishing Process in GIF form.

You know what's scary? Revising something you've already polished. I was so terrified of this, I put my stomach in knots this weekend. I was literally nauseated over it.

Oh my God, the new passages are going to stick out like (insert good angsty metaphor here, like the only girl in 8th grade not allowed to wear makeup). They'll be so first draft. And what am I gonna do to fix that? Have my long-suffering critique partners read the chapter yet again? Or just keep revising until the day I DIE?

But you have to start somewhere. I knew in my heart that changes needed to be made to make the manuscript stronger. So, here I go, inserting new drivel into text that no longer includes the word "just." Wait, I saved it to a different file first, right? Because I'm ruining my book! Who said revision always makes things better?!

This is me! I'm Grover. The next page is going to be a monster to fix. Maybe I just shouldn't look ...

It actually wasn't as bad as I psyched myself to think it would be. The new information makes the story stronger. I'm excited. Only now I have to do a whole new SCENE towards the end of the book. Everyone will read it and think, "Yup, that's the new scene. You can tell, it's so first drafty and it doesn't fit at all." Or I can just keep revising that scene until the day I die.

You know, there's probably a middle ground there. I suppose the problem is that I feel like my progress towards the finish line with this manuscript gets slower and slower as I go along. But fear certainly isn't going to help. The book will actually be done someday. I think.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

That's why the first thing I do is make a copy of the file. I figure if I start doing unspeakable things to it, I can always go back to the earlier version.

Cutting into a polished ms. is scary at first. I am very tentative about the first few changes. But as I get into it, I get bolder, and pretty soon I'm hacking away with no reservations!

Andrea Mack said...

Kate, I have lots of copies of my files lately. I also have another word doc where I list all the changes I'm making so I will remember the thought processes behind it.

My big fear is that will continually revise and never be finished!

DeenaML said...

Jennifer, I have copies, too! But I'm usually certain that my new version will be better -- yes, I get cocky -- but I'm sure at times mistakes are made.... :-P

Andea, YES! Continually revising fear... :)