Thursday, May 20, 2010

Revision Forever!

Revision Forever!

pedal-to-metal Okay, that’s just short for saying, “this revision is taking forever!”

I started revising Steam Palace in December. Six months later, I have Part One revised. Umm…this is not acceptable. Yes, I spent a lot of time working on an online revision course, deciding what to keep and what to throw out and designing a new plot and new characters. Then I decided the course was taking too long and I started revising the story a couple months back. I was really hoping by now that I’d have something to take to publishers.

Here’s the thing. I really think Steam Palace is good. Publishable, even.  Yes, I know I’m still weak in areas. I’ve successfully navigated all the common writing pitfalls, made my writing strong, improved my story structure and characterization, but how close am I? I have no idea. Even if I’ve improved my writing 200% in a year, how much more do I have left to improve? (to be publishable)

For me, drafting is the easiest thing in the world. I can whip up 4-6K words a day on a draft. But editing—that’s super slow. I’ve literally spent this entire week working on a single chapter (granted it’s the most important chapter of the book so far—basically the climax of Part One that sets the entire rest of the book in motion—and it’s grown to over 6K words in four mini-scenes). At this rate I won’t finish by the end of the year---and there’s still NaNoWriMo! No matter what, I have to be finished on Steam Palace by September 1. Mostly because as great as Steam Palace is, The Immortals is ridiculously better. We’re talking Terry Goodkind good.

So the question is how to get this thing done in three months. Obviously I can work better, stronger, faster. I have the technology. I have nine chapters(40+scenes) to write in fifteen weeks. Gulp. So basically it’s go-time, heads down, full-throttle, and pedal to the metal. But without clichés of course. Which means I’m going to have to start cutting back on blogging, blogfesting, blog reading (notice a trend here?), until this thing is ready to go out the door. Is one fully edited chapter a week doable? If I could finish by Aug. 1 I would be ecstatic, then I could start sending out queries while I do final full-ms edits.

Sigh. Well enough talk and now time to do it. Wish me luck!


  1. I hear ya. Oh boy, do I hear you. *sigh*

    Best of can do it!

  2. Lemme look at it. I'll edit it. I show no mercy.

  3. What is it that you're revising that's taking so long?

    Everyone has their own pace, sure, but six to nine months on a revision seems a bit extreme.

    Not that I'm an expert. I still haven't gotten a novel published. Shorts, sure, but not a novel, which is a whole nuther beast. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but you and I sure are at opposite ends of the revision spectrum.

    For instance, my last book was three months on the draft, a few weeks on revision, done. I won't look at it again unless someone picks it up.

    The one before that, three months on the draft, a few weeks on the revision, done.

    The current work is about one month in. I figure I'll have it out by September, including the revision.

    Of course, I'm not writing strict fantasy -- that's a beast -- and my style is much looser than your structured format.

    I also revise as I write, so the final "rough draft" is clean but for critiquey-nitpickies and oversights.

    Anyway, point is you might be over-revising. Don't stagnate on Steam Palace if you have a better book with the Immortals. (Frankly, I think they both sound publishable, but wtf do I know, eh.)

    Be careful. Too much revision can muck up a perfectly good story, and your editor is going to insist on changes regardless!

    - Eric

  4. My tip would be to give up on the deadline on the revision. Until you can approach your revision the way you do your drafts (that is, you know what you want and you can go after it) you might as well keep writing better first drafts.

    Keep at it until you have enough distance and experience to see exactly what Steam Palace needs in one go.

    As Eric pointed out, you may be over-revising anyway. Maybe after you get some other kick-ass books under your belt, you will go back and see this book for it's own value. You may not need so much revision, just a little leverage applied here and there.

  5. @Jamie: Thanks.

    @Cheryl: Sent you some. We'll see how you do. ;)

    @Eric: Uhh, Steam Palace? Four months would be great...don't know if I could do that...

    @Daring: I know what I need to do, but it's taking forever.

    All: I think the problems I run into is mostly POV related because I write drafts in one style and then I try to convert it into a deeper, more intimate style. It's going to take time for me to do that naturally. Also converting from telling to showing takes some work. It's just a long process. :(

  6. Ooooooo, changing style/voice is a toughie.

    The only advice I can give for that is what I tend to do once with each draft... I print it out (save the old draft to an archive) and type it over from scratch.

  7. Andrew,

    On a good note: Lord of the Rings was written over the course of many years, and according to JRRT, had to be rewritten from back-to-front.

    So there's something to be said for revisions (aka rewrites).

    - Eric

  8. All the best, I think I have to do the same too, cut back blogging. I haven't even completed my WIP draft. SMH..


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