November 11th, 2009

lucy types

Novel Revisions

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People who look at this dress usually think one of two things:

1) No. Just … no.


2) Daring! I get what she’s going for.

I look at that dress and think: revisions.

A couple of months ago, idaho_laurie asked me to blog about the revision process once I finished.

Now that the uncontrollable sobbing and despair has abated, I’m ready to tackle the subject!

Haha! I kid.

I actually LOVE revising, because I know my hard work will make this book better.

But back to the dress.* It’s … well, there’s no other way to say this: it’s a bedspread. Perhaps lovingly crocheted by Cate Blanchett’s Grandma. Or perhaps it was the only dress her stylist brought with her, thirty minutes before Cate was scheduled to walk down the red carpet, so she just said, “Bloody hell, you complete nutter! I will wear this monstrosity, and I will wear it with such a blissfully beaming demeanor that everyone will be convinced I adore its bizarre yarn squares and one-shouldered whimsy! Also: you’re sacked!”

Here’s my crocheted-dress-as-revision analogy: Imagine your editor saying, “You see that square with the urine-yellow border? That's an unfortunate color. Please unstitch that square and pull out the yellow yarn. Replace it with a cornflower blue shade. Also … the unifying black borders? I think violet would work better. The length of the dress should be about two inches shorter. I would like you to seriously reconsider the long sleeve. I do understand that you’re fond of the asymmetrical look, but it’s distracting. Some more green might be a good idea.”

You can definitely do it.

But it won’t be easy.

Although …

… it might end up being FUN.

I’ve been trying to describe my revision process for a couple of days now. I started off very linear and prosaic (“First I sit down and read through my editor’s notes. Then I percolate for a day. I do NOT attempt to get started. Percolating is very necessary.”)

Not only was it boring, but my process certainly may not work for others. And you know what? It may not even work for me for the next book.

So I think instead I will just tell the story of How I Revised This Particular Book at This Particular Time in My Life.

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