Slow and Somewhat Steady

My revision is due around the end of this year. In order to stay on track, I need to complete about 100 pages of revision each month.  September almost got the better of me; teaching responsibilities crowded in and pushed the manuscript to the back burner.  Yesterday, though, I finally hit a stride – at least for one afternoon – and was able to cruise all the way past my goal.

I’ve revised this manuscript before, and more than once, but this stage of revision is very different, because my editor’s voice is in the process with me now.  Her 18-page, single-spaced letter stays open while I work, and I revisit it again and again to determine whether I have answered the questions she has set for me.  

I find this new stage of revision to be quite slow.  Every change made has a ripple effect on the rest of the story: some ripples are minimal; others spread all the way to the end of the novel and into the series beyond.

I got stuck a couple of weeks ago on one of those big ripples, as I realized that a character’s nature was being violated by a plot line, and that it would come back to haunt me in the next book if I didn’t figure out how to a) change it or b) justify it.  I tore my figurative hair out over that one, and more than once I muttered “No one cares. I’ll just leave it. It’s fine.”  But they will, and I couldn’t, and it wasn’t.

Immediately after sorting out that particular problem, I continued to revise, and not ten pages later I was snarled again, stuck in my own convoluted mess.  I slapped the laptop shut in a fit of frustration on Friday night, and I may have said a few choice words to Rapunzel about just where she could go and what she could do.  Yesterday, I got over it, and Rapunzel seemed eager to make it up to me, so we flew along together very nicely. 

I have three hours carved out tonight for writing work, and I’m leaving the house to avoid distractions, so I’ll get ahead of my October goal.  Good.  Because if October was anything like September, I’m going to need a head start to get me across that 200-page finish line.


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