My helpless novel is currently sprawled around me in tiny, bloody pieces. It’s been hacked, chopped and ripped to shreds. The remnants are scattered about in no logical sequence, leaving me staring at the mess with bloody hands.
I’ve accepted the fact that it was bound to happen some time. It was basically dead to begin with. Luckily, even as my inner critic tells me it’s not worth saving, I still feel a slight heart beat. Like a surgeon carefully and methodically saving a life, I’m determined to piece it back together, stronger than it was before.
There is one slight problem. This surgeon never went to medical school. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to mash the mess together with out the proper tools and hope it miraculously comes back to life. The harder I tried, the worse it got leaving me overwhelmed and my beloved characters begging me to save them.
I knew I had to change my plan or risk destroying it even further.
First, I had to take a step back and regain my focus. Because I wrote the first draft so quickly, it’s filled with inconsistencies and serious structural problems.
Next came the tedious task of reading it from beginning to end (no matter how painful), figuring out the problems, and plotting out a new, detailed outline. I had to remind myself to trust my instincts and not be afraid of making big changes, which I did. I added characters, removed characters, and changed a major part of the plot. What I was left with, was an organized system for putting the pieces together.
My manuscript still remains in critical condition, but I can finally look at it with out a sense of dread.
How do you approach the revision process? Do you find it daunting or exciting?