I finally crossed into the last third of my WIP with my massive revision!
*throws papers up in the air*
*dances on her manuscript*
let me explain why this means so much to me.
I started my revision (draft#2) before truly finishing my analysis of draft#1, because I just burned to make corrections. They kept me up at night, like a bunch of doctors standing at the foot of my bed, looking down their noses, waiting to declare me and my work a lost cause. I started draft #2 and almost got through the first third of the manuscript before I realized the worldbuilding had to be expanded. I had SO MANY new ideas that would make the novel SO MUCH better this time around!
So I stopped, brainstormed and world-built and had a blast imagining how awesome the story will be, and then I started draft #3.
I got to the middle this time, before I realized I had to rework the plot. Some things were too loose, others too tight, there were two subplots too many and the main plot needed some oiling, and the whole machine just sputtered and rattled and fought against the laws of physics and natural degradation, running on my sheer naivete alone.
So I stopped again, reworked the detailed outline of the story, and started draft #4.
Then I got pregnant and died a few times every day because of the terrible, horrible, incredibly fucking torturous pregnancy sickness, and could no longer focus to write shit. Several months passed, and took my sickness with them — and I swore on my ancestors’ graves I would find and slaughter the moron who called it “morning sickness” and not “whole-day agony”.
But then I looked at my Frankensteinian concoction of a manuscript, and my eyeballs almost fell outta my head. It wasn’t a novel. It wasn’t even a draft—it was a freakin mutant! Lying there in a puddle of drool, breathing heavily like Ripley’s seventh clone, begging me to kill it.
So I went through it again (draft#5?), to remember what the hell I did to it, and to EDIT some of the nasty stuff out that I threw in there in my insane revision frenzy. Of course the outlines I had were nothing more than scene lists, no clear intention or plan, and none of the feverish ideas I had before were written down. But I kept going, and soon passed the bloodstains where each previous draft had died in pain, and just kept going.
And now I’ve reached the last third! The farthest I’ve been so far. Yay!
Behind me, the corpses of several dead drafts, cut out scenes and subplots, chopped off mutant limbs and corrected plot warts.
Before me, a chunk of virgin first draft that I haven’t even read once since I wrote it last year!
I’m going to upgrade this baby so it clicks with the rest, and have a finished manuscript that can finally be gazed upon by someone else’s talented eyes.
What draft will it be, technically? The second? The sixth? Who cares?! At least I’ve learned something important:
A good first draft is worth gold, and
You should never start a revision without a solid plan.
Proper outlines can save your life — those before ever putting pen to paper, and those before taking the scalpel to your work. Good outlines are like magical fairies that spring out of your mind when you’re sober, and form a protective ring around you later when you’re raging mad with frustration, eager to trash your own stuff just to release creative energy.