On Writing: Revisions Lead to New Tactics
Resistance got me down for quite a while. Resisting listening. Resisting revising. Resisting the inevitable. Blame the old ego. Once I let go, revising a novel became a lot more clear. Revisions are pretty much the norm. Not pretty much. Required.
But now, six months into a major revision of a novel, I’ve come to another realization: my style has changed. And that change can be read “improvement.”
I’m part of a writers’ critique group. We’re all novelists, fictions writers. And as I got to the critique session for my final revision of additional new writings to add to the opening, the one where I now pick up my novel where I left off… Well, I knew I needed to add a new beginning to my novel. That came in the form of three new chapters that took me the better part of six months to write. All of this new additional writing has now been presented to the critique group, and has been judged, rewritten, revised until now….voila…I have arrived at the point where the original story begins.
I submitted the first chapter of that (with a little revising to make it fit with the new beginning) and got the results back. “Too much detail.” “Why did you write that?” “This fits better here.”
I digested the comments and came to the realization that my style has changed. I’ve grown. I’ve (hopefully) improved. That ‘s why the group was so questioning with the latest submittal (the old Chapter 1) after reading the first three new chapters. It took me a while to realize the point of the questioning. I thought I could create three new chapters and then cut and paste the original story in. Wrong!
The reality is that I’ve created new characters, a new storyline, and a new style. In essence, I’ve grown and now I have to face the facts: there’s no shortcut to writing a novel. I will have to go forward with the thought that whatever I’ve created with the addition of the three new chapters to open up the story is now critical to what happens—not in the old original story, but in the new story that’s now being written.
It’s an interesting problem. It’s a good problem. I just have to keep writing. Have you had a similar experience?