Revisions have been a roller coaster ride this week.
Six days ago, Sam and I discussed a new scene that we felt needed to be added to ShianMai’s storyline. It was a scene that required some research. For two days, I diddled around and did nothing. Then on Saturday I finally went to the library and got what I needed. But didn’t look at the materials until late Sunday, and then I was too tired to do anything.
Monday night I left work and gave myself an ultimatum. I literally spoke out loud and said, “You are not doing ANYTHING else until this scene is written. No sleeping. No Facebook. No food. Well, you can have these cookies for motivation.”
Five grueling hours and a sleeve of Thin Mints later, the scene was written. 3757 words, which really should not take 5 hours to write, but a scene I was relatively content with.
Now, compare. First I have these days and days of feeling like I’m pounding my head against a brick wall. And then, today.
I woke up this morning feeling totally motivated. I emailed Sam some thoughts, hoping beyond hoping that we could get together today. To my joy, we were able to meet early this afternoon. We had a [somewhat surprisingly] productive couple of hours, and talked through a bunch of strong revision ideas, with feedback from Sam’s wife Ashley, who has started reading the draft. I took detailed notes, then had to head out to teach classes.
Knowing how distracted I get at home, I went to my parents house after work, and spent two solid hours working on the book there. But, my battery died and I had to come home. I spend about half an hour dorking around the internet (curse you, internet!) before I settled back down to work again. After working for two and a half more hours, I had made some major progress. I feel like in this one night, I’ve made up for five days of banging my head against the wall.
Some of these revisions are small. A sentence or two added to a scene, for clarification or emphasis.
Some of these revisions are a lot more intensive. For instance, Xansul just got cut out of four chapters, because we decided he needed to be elsewhere at the time, and Daryun got to go solo. Which meant I had to write four brand-new scenes for Xansul, and insert him into several others, as well as revising Daryun’s scenes to eliminate Xansul’s presence.
Revisions are an adventure. I love having a coauthor, who is able to have a different perspective, and often a fresher view of the text, whereas I get mired in the words as I work with them day after day. We bounce ideas off each other, working out ways to strengthen plotlines, improve pacing, and ensure that the characters are behaving…well, in character. All of it is intended to improve the quality of the book, and make it more enjoyable for you.
Even if sometimes it feels like pounding my head against the wall.