I am tearing apart a middle-grade novel that didn't make the grade and realizing how timid I am when it comes to revising. I'm not afraid to lose the original work because, after all, it's still on the hard drive so I guess my timidity (timidness?) comes from fear--I can't really do it, or do it well. I'm not as good a reviser as I thought I was. Theoretically and practically, I know how to do it. But when it comes to actually doing it, I freeze. This particular novel (I'll call it Millie) I can see now goes in too many different directions and doesn't really come together in the end. This has been my problem with every novel that didn't cut it (the three or four in my boneyard). So it makes sense to write down all these separate threads, see which ones really cohere, and dump the others. Okay, so far. BUT then I really need to dump whole scenes, whole chapters and write new ones. Killing my darlings, always hard. Still, there's a little pleasure thrill when I start to dream up new scenes, which is the real joy of writing for me. When it's dancing in my head as if on screen and I haven't written it into life yet. Yes!
How do you go about revising a "finished" piece of work?
Three Favorites from 2013
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