Metal. Monsters. Mayhem.

Rewriting, revising, it’s-all-going-to-be-crap; or, to be one of the happy few

“What? ANOTHER revision?”

Revising, like war, is hell.

For those of you stuck in your own Work-In-Progress, or for anyone who wonders why it takes so long to write a novel, I offer up my own (unfinished) experience.

To read more, click here.


6 responses

  1. David,

    I’m a writing friend of Maggie Bolitho’s. I read your last comment and felt compelled to read your blog. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at reading this. I’ve chosen to laugh, mostly for self-preservation as I am now facing some of the same hurdles you have already mastered.

    I admire your tenacity. A full-time job and family is a drain on anyone’s time. I know. I’m there now. I too, had a news background. Writing for television, with a steady paycheck, was apparently too dull for me. Some days I want to kick myself for embarking on this whole novel-writing project. It’s not an easy one. Some days it’s a whole hell of a lot of fun, others pure torture. If I didn’t have Maggie to prop me up and give me a swift kick from time to time, I would have scrapped it long ago. I feel like I’m in a slow marathon, struggling to the end. But right now I think I’m at the 20th mile mark (this is first draft BTW).

    I hope your latest revision is ‘The One.’

    Allison Doke

    March 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    • Hey Allison:

      Thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear you are slogging away at your WIP. Best advice I ever read about starting a novel is not stopping until you get to the end of the draft. All the way. Screw the inconsistencies and major problems — don’t fix them yet. By the end of the draft you’ll know what the story is really about. Then you can go back and revise accordingly. My problem was that I was too impatient and kept trying to send the thing off before it was fully formed (who was I kidding, calling it a novella?), and then getting sidetracked by either clinging to the older versions or, paradoxically, throwing them right out and starting something new. It all became fodder for the One True Draft, though; and along the way I’ve tried to absorb as much as possible about the craft of writing and making sure I don’t slack off on anything in the MS.
      If you haven’t read them already, I highly recommend Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel and the accompanying workbook. Best time to read them is between drafts, because they provide very, very useful tools for getting the most out of your story, and can really re-energize you when you tackle revisions.
      Keep on going. Writing a novel is a marathon. It just takes constant work 🙂


      March 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

  2. G’day David – great blog.

    Every year, since 2007, it has been my tradition to take out my great Australian novel and revise it. In December I finally gave it to a professioanl editor. Among other things, she said I really had 3 novels, not just one. I’m currently in the process of stripping out all the superfluous bits and fleshing out what is clearly missing.

    I take consolation that this is just part of the process. Thanks for a blog that breaks the isolation.


    March 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    • I wish I had fully appreciated the value of substantive editing earlier in the writing process! But one thing that eventually sank in was that taking a good editor’s advice saves you so much grief in the long run. Was heart-breaking to hear I had to break Draft 5 up and totally rewrite it… but that advice rang so true I knew I had to do it. Would love to hear about your rewriting process… have you blogged about that? Feel free to put a link in the comments.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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