Friday, March 15, 2013

Revise Early and Often

These days it seems like I can't go more than a few paragraphs before I stop and revise what I'm doing. That's not a bad thing but it does add to the time it takes to complete something.

I suppose the real culprit here is not have a good solid few hours to work on any one thing. All the interruptions force me to refocus and then revise what I'm doing.

And I'm realizing that revise is probably the wrong word here. Review is probably more accurate. Yet during my downtime away from everything, I do truly revise and change bits of stories so I can go back the next day to fix what I've done.

It's all about saying what I want to say and saying it the way I want to say it. Sometimes I don't have a preference on the what I want to say but I want to say it in a way that is interesting. The recent combat scene I finished the other day in Book 4 is an example. It didn't matter to me what the particulars of the combat were. But I absolutely wanted to describe them in an engaging way. That was hard because I find writing combat scenes not very interesting.

So when I revise I look for what is being said and what is not being said. Is there anything to add? Can I clarify my point by changing words? Can I simplify the whole mess and say this in a more straightforward way? Often I'm doing all of these things at once in a really heavy edit. But more often than not, I reserve those time to when I can step back and see a story or section of a story in its entirety because editing here and there is like making a patchwork quilt. And in general, that's not my goal.

The other thing I ask myself when I re-read my work is this: Do I like the way it reads? I edit for the ear as well as the eye, you see. I re-read the first chapter of Book 2 the other day to see if I still liked it. And I have to say there's something there I don't like. I can't put my finger on it but I'm sure I will. Eventually.

Keep writing -- and revising -- everyone.

No comments: