I’ve never enjoyed the revision process so thoroughly. Over the last week, I’ve spent 3-4 hours each day editing and rewriting. I lose myself in it entirely. Poor Steve pops into the writing room and I stare blankly, barely hearing him. I think he’s learning that it takes me a minute to transition between worlds.
It’s exciting. I can see the book getting tighter, clearer and more concise. I find myself giggling over snippets I’d forgotten. It feels–well, I love how the word playwright implies a craft, like wheelwright. Taking the time to find the exact perfect phrase, the magic word that lights up a scene, that feels like craft. It’s slower, more deliberate than the first go-round, when words just pour onto the screen.
It’s also quite challenging. Reading through the whole thing, I find inconsistencies. How old are Molly’s little siblings again? And I’m learning my own lazy habits. Poor Molly is far too apt to scowl or heave a sigh of relief or, oh dear God, blush. She blushes constantly. I think she may be part fire engine. And if I mention Quinn’s lovely face or glittering green eyes one more time, I’m likely to make myself throw up. The thesaurus is becoming my new best friend. When I read, I’ve been jotting down words I love, expressions that resonate. Ooh, that’s good. And then I despair for a minute, ’cause I want to string words together in ways that make other people sigh in envy. Someday.
I’ve cut 20 pages and 8000 words so far. It’s still too long, but I’m sure my brilliant crit group will have suggestions. It’s hard for me to see around the initial plotting sometimes. Just yesterday I realized that one particular scene was slowing down the action and I could just delete it. I forget sometimes that that’s an option. I’m trying not to be too sentimental about cutting things, especially dialogue that amuses me but doesn’t really do anything.
Actually, I think that’s where my dramaturgical training is helpful. (Thank God it’s useful somehow, because in terms of finding me a kickass day job…not so much.) I can turn on that analytical side of my brain and dissect my baby. What are the beats in this scene? How does it move the plot forward? Is this description for my own world-building purposes or is it important that the reader knows this? Should they know it now, or does it slow down the action; can I integrate it better later?
My goal for the week is to cut at least another 2K on this pass-through. Then I will (gulp) send it off to aforementioned brilliant crit group for their feedback. And take a little break and wait nervously for their responses. Fortunately, I have a mammoth reading list to distract me.