Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I started revising my MS this weekend. I'd pretty much done the first three chapters awhile ago so I had a 50 page jump on it. I'm on page 113 and I expect to get through 100 pages today.

I'm not a multiple-draft kind of writer. I write something, it almost never changes. The biggest changes I've made so far are some word changes to keep the continuity and I had a genderless character which, well, needed one. I'm not sure what the next 100 pages will present, but I doubt it will be too much change beyond proofreading errors and typos.

Once I write something, it changes very little. Is this because I plan and plan every detail of my book? No, I'm a panster although I know where my story starts and how it ends before I start writing. Am I preternaturally talented, blessed by the writing gods with unparalleled brilliance? Don't I wish, that would be cool. Am I so dense I don't recognize my own poor efforts and I'm blinded to my own amateurish efforts? That could be, I'm not published, but I don't think so.

So what is the answer? Oh, there isn't just one, but I've learned a few things from writing and my style. Everytime I finish a story, I find I have learned more about my writing and it makes it easier.

I think the biggest thing I've learned is to trust my writing. I don't think we as writers trust ourselves enough. We have ourselves so convinced that we need to revise even before we start writing, we sabotage ourselves. We feel those words we put down on the page aren't worthy until they've gone through four or five revisions. But if we revise too much, we dilute our voice. I guess that is another thing, I know my voice, feel confident in it. Voice is such an elusive concept, but once we can recognize our voice, writing becomes so much easier.

Another thing is experience. I think this WIP is number seven. Not all of those other WIP's were finished, but most of them made it to the 3/4 mark. But every piece of writing revealed to me my strengths and weaknesses, making me focus on what I need to work on. Once I grasped those concepts, they get incorporated into my internal editor.

Which is the next thing. I cannot switch my internal editor off. Ever. It works like a filter between my brain and my fingers. Like a coffee filter, I guess. The raw grounds of my writing get strained into the true product. All of my own personal writing "rules" have their place and my writing has to pass through them before making it to the keyboard.

It isn't a perfect method and it may be my downfall eventually. I'm not published, so I could be completely out my mind, but I'm not sure I can write any other way. I do have lots and lots of crap on my hard drive to prove how long it has taken me to get to this point. I've got WIP's that hit the 75k word mark which I decided didn't work and are forgotten. My style didn't happen overnight, it has evolved and will continue to evolve.

How about you? How much revision do you do? Are you one who needs lots of drafts or are you a "set in stone" writer? Do you try different methods when editing?

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