Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Revision Diaries (2)

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
--Oscar Wilde

I'm revising two chapters a day, which I think works out just right. Each chapter is around 3K words, about 9-12 pages. I read through one chapter, making changes as I go along, then I read through the next chapter, making more changes. Then I go back to the first one, and go through it again. Then the second again.

At this rate I'll finish with this first pass of revisions by the end of March, which is just awesome. It helps that I'm so obsessively organized, and I have detailed notes written up for each chapter's revisions. It also helps immensely that I've divided up the chapters into individual files. I can't believe I never tried this before. It is so, so, so easy to navigate and revise 10 pages at a time. Way less intimidating, too.

This is what my desktop looks like right now. I usually keep everything to the side, nice and orderly, but I'm a very visual person, and this layout helps me stay organized.

First, we have my awesome background, which reminds me what I should be doing if I forget and spend too much time on twitter. Above the WRITE are the chapters not yet revised and the one chapter not yet written-- but outlined, so I'm getting there! Below WRITE are the chapters that have been revised. I read through these again today, and any changes were very minor (like Wilde's commas) so I'm pretty pleased with them.

I still have a lot of work to do, but I am very excited about getting my work out to betas. I love feedback-- good or bad, as long as it's not mean :)

But for now, I must get back to my revisions. I'll leave you with more of my favorite revising quotes.

It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.
--C. J. Cherryh

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
--Justice Brandeis

I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.
--James A. Michener

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
--Blaise Pascal

You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing.
--Gene Wolfe


  1. Great quotes! And I love that background! I need one that says, " You better WRITE or else!!" LOL.

    Good luck!

  2. You are SCARY organized! Do you also wash your hands thirty times a day? :)

    I also love your background!

  3. LOVE the quotes! And I'm envious of your organization and persistence! I can't even manage to get my first draft finished, let alone revised!

  4. Wow. And I thought I was organized. You're super organized! Good luck with your revision goals. :)

  5. Ah, the joys of revision. You certainly have it down to a fine science, love your organization and scheduling. If only I could be so organized...

  6. I like your subtle reminders of what is important.

    Best wishes with the writing.