It’s been roughly two weeks (actually, just a little shy of that) since my last update (you can read it here) and I figured it was time to give a new update.
So I printed out the latest Corrosive Knights novel, #8, and decided this time around I’d do something different with the revision of draft #3 of the book: Instead of reading through the printed copy of it, writing up a bunch of corrections, then going to the computer and putting them into a new copy, I’d strike while the proverbial iron is hot and just read and revise the book on the computer simultaneously.
I didn’t know how it would work out.
On the one hand, printing the book out and revising the printed work allows me to more easily flip back and forth through the pages, sometimes even quite literally cutting up pieces of a page here and there and taping it to another section. This sounds dreadfully low tech and it is, but lining up all the “cut” pieces does allow you to look them over better than the way it is presented on the computer screen, at least for me!
On the other hand, because much of what I wrote I felt was pretty good as it was, I found there were sections I was able to whiz through, making my corrections as I found the “errors” and not wasting as much time as I might have.
But, in the end, have I saved time? I haven’t finished the third draft yet. In fact, I’m roughly 1/2 of the way through the thing but do feel the second half is a lot stronger/better developed than the first half, which did require some big changes. Bigger changes = more rewriting/new writing = more time.
If I had printed the whole thing out and revised it first, would I today be done with the read through and placement of corrections on paper? Would I now be entering the revisions on the computer stage?
Or is it possible I’d still be reading the printed out stuff and working on fixes?
Hard to say, really.
But it does bring me to the inevitable reality check one seems to always face: As optimistic as you may be about your work (and in that last post I wrote I was damned optimistic about how things were going), one shouldn’t get too excited -as I admit I did- about where things are because when you get to the next revision and it turns out what you have isn’t quite as great as you thought it was, it can really take the proverbial wind out of your sails.
Mind you, I wasn’t entirely wrong in my last post. I do still feel this book is further along than the others I’ve written. For a third draft, it is remarkably “complete”, story wise. This in turn means I’ll be getting that much quicker to the stage of dealing with grammatical/writing issues, rather than dealing with the more time consuming creative writing stuff.
Yet I’d be lying if I said that the work I’ve done in the last two weeks didn’t do just that: Deflate my sails just a little.
As I said, I’m halfway through the book right now and I’ve done a lot of fixing up, especially in the very early going of the book. I still feel there is some work to be done there but I don’t want to get totally bogged down with fixing every little detail at this point.
Part of the revision process involves assimilating the entire novel into your mind, realizing how one detail leads to the next and the next and the next. Sometimes something that happens on page 6 of the book becomes important on page 106.
So I plow along, fixing the big stuff while slowly memorizing almost every element of the story. I suppose its not unlike an actor memorizing a play, only in this case I memorize not just one role, but all of them.
When one has a clearer global view of the book, from page 1 to the very end, one then knows the actions on that theoretical page 6 should go this way or that. You maximize the elements, whether it be dialogue or action, so that when you get to the theoretical payoff or reference to that action/dialogue on page 106, you hope everything is there for the readers to make that connection.
Hopefully by the very end, when your reader gets to that last page and it all comes to an end, every plot point or bit of dialogue made sense and led you to that very ending and you close the book (or turn off your Kindle app) with a satisfied smile on your face.
In the very end, I am to make you as a reader satisfied.
I’ll get back to you when I’m done with Draft #3!