I have a serious case of book brain. It’s a problem. Honest. I have trouble falling asleep…because of the book. I wake up…I think about the book. I take a shower…you guessed it…book. But, see, it’s okay. That’s normal. Why? Because I’m thisclose to being finished with the thing. I’ve been through several rounds of revisions and, yep, it’s almost that time. It’ll go out into the world and it’ll do what it will do and all I’ve got is another week and a half to fret and fuss over this draft until my heart’s content–or, well, yanno, until that week and a half is over.
I’m really happy with this round of revisions (if I do say so myself). For a number of reasons. There are a few things I did the same as with other projects and there are a few things I’ve done differently.
This post from YA Muses really hit home: http://yamuses.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-bomber.html. I’m an A-bomber, too. As writers we’re told that good writing is done through re-writing and through revising. And you don’t want to be that person that is too attached to what’s already on the page. You don’t want to be accused of being unwilling to change and improve. So, how do you show you’re trying, that you’re putting in the hard work? You re-write. You re-write the hell out of that thing. Because you’ll do it better the next time. Only it’s easy, when you do that, to wind up with a series of first drafts strung together. I’ve been guilty of this, for sure. Not for lack of effort, of course, but when I’ve used the A-bomb, there are ghosts of drafts past and things that don’t fit as seamlessly as they should, when really what I needed to be doing was using the sniper line to nip at the problems and revise.
So this time my revision tactic can best be described as “layering.” I still have my revision checklist, which I love. And it still goes from big issues to small. I still wrote brand new scenes. In fact, I added about 30% to the book. But I didn’t go in and demolish the good stuff that was already there. I started with an initial polish and read-through to see problems and fix what I could and then I got beta comments after that.
Here are some examples of the big stuff on my initial 31-point revision checklist:
-Begin scary scenes earlier (this meant adding three smaller scarier scenes)
-make big scary scenes bigger, more suspenseful, more surprising
-fix side character’s personality to make more interesting and to increase conflict
-get rid or shift another minor character’s role
-give MC and possible love interest a backstory that creates more tension, more conflict and gives MC a chance to make mistakes
-add foreshadowing to make ending surprising, but inevitable and more tightly woven
-add more of MC’s possible love interest
Now, I’ve moved on to the nitty-gritty and nuances.
Here are some examples from my new revision checklist:
-strengthen chapter endings (this involves the use of cliffhangers, stronger reflections/resolutions and/or acts that are not cliffhangers but that propel forward)_
-small edits to not-entirely “scary” scenes to make certain bits more eerie, more surprising, more creepy
-judging the approriateness of MC’s reactions in different scenes and making sure they all make sense, are consistent and create a coherent character arc
-upping sexual tension
-deep line edit of first chapters
-focusing on likability as well as strength of MC’s character
So that’s where I’m at! All in a tizzy about my little book and just hoping and praying that I can put as much effort and heart into the draft I have for the entire time I have left.