Thursday, December 1, 2011

Revision Vision

Today I'll finish proofreading revisions that my editor requested for my science fiction novel, Green Light Delivery. Doing these revisions has been a fascinating experience, and the first time I've revised a novel under editorial instructions, rather than in the pre-submission stage.

The editor asked me to flesh out a character who doesn't actually show up until the end, yet on whom the story hinges. Therefore, although the bulk of my changes were in the last fifth of the novel, I needed to prepare the reader better to meet this character by leaving hints and stepping stones throughout the earlier chapters.

At first I worried that inserting and changing elements all the way through would be like wiggling bolts and nails in a building structure: it could make everything fall down. But instead, it made me rethink every sentence with this new purpose in mind and make changes that shored up and strengthened the work overall.

At least I hope it did! Currently I'm at that stage where I've stared at it so long that it all looks ridiculous.

How do you feel about the process of novel-revision?


  1. Sometimes that wiggling is so hard, but it's always a relief when you find a place to slot in that new element and it still all holds together! That's great that it's all coming together for you!

  2. Novel revision is both stressful and exhilarating. I think of it as the problem solving/hole plugging phase.

  3. Oh, Anne, I love that last sentence: "I've stared at it so long that it all looks ridiculous." I'm right there with you. And the last time I felt this way, before I started revising, I took a two month break from the project. When I came back to it, I could see it objectively again and began revising with pleasure. But if I need to put it down for two months again so that I can appreciate it. . . sheesh, this could really drag things out.

  4. It sounds fascinating, Anne! Good luck with each of your novels coming out!

  5. Thanks, Katie.

    Inluv, I'm sure my novel could benefit from another two-month break. Too bad revisions are due tomorrow. Waah!

    Anne and Mirka, it sounds like you can relate. Fixing and plugging, yup.

  6. Sounds scary. Sometimes when I revise a short story, it feels like I am blowing holes in it, until I can stitch it all back together.

    I am currently working on a first draft of my first novel. The memory of this one post will forever be in the back of my mind reminding me to leave those "hints and stepping stones" for characters to come.

    Thanks for this!

  7. I agree with Mirka: it is stressful and exhilarating. Have always found breaking things down and fixing them up in new ways to be insanely satisfying.

  8. I'm revising my second manuscript of the month. Oh wait, it's December now. Okay so technically it's over a month. Anyway, I'm inserting new scenes and it's truly like fitting pieces into a puzzle that's already put together. It's tough, but like you, once those pieces are in, I'm happy with the results. I'm not finished yet, but I'm getting close.