Or, Revisions, Ahoy, and This Sailor Can’t Wait
II had to go back to the opening of my novel-in-progress for a name reference yesterday, and ended up reading back a fair bit of it. Not all of what I’ve written, but maybe a third or so. I had already identified some revision points—the first scene will have to be reworked, because the heroine’s motivation is extremely muddled (it was muddled in my head when I wrote it, but I figured later events might clarify her choices and I was right), and the inciting incident of sexy times needs to be rewritten completely because attempt number one was boring (entirely possible, I do assure you!). So I knew already that I was going to have to do significant remodeling in at least a couple areas, but reading back the opening today really gave me some clarity about what direction the revisions need to take.
I realized I’m actually really looking forward to going back and fixing the parts I didn’t get quite right the first time, and sharpening the words and scenes of all of it into a more streamlined and incisive form. When I’m drafting I tend to use more qualifiers than I really need, and I tend to let the dependent clauses pile on and pile on until the original thought is more covered than a mummy, and I like to repeat words and details too much, and I do a bit more telling than I would like, and I let scenes run a bit long and therefore leave in too many parts “people tend to skip.”
I’m far enough from the writing of my opening that many of those issues were also clear to me today, and I am genuinely looking forward to pulling out my editrix claws and letting the red ink bleed. I am also looking forward to being able to read my story back to myself in a form that is not mostly-good and mostly-fitted-to-my-aesthetic but unqualifiably good, because it embodies my aesthetic.
This realization is actually a sharp motivator for me to finish up the rough draft. When I look forward to the next step, it helps me work with more efficiency through the current one.