My first round of revisions mainly consisted of changing:
- the tense (I only figured out in Chapter 22 that I needed to write this in present tense – my novel has 25 chapters, oupsie)
- the first name of my main character (how did I even think of calling her Laura? She´s an Erin through and through!)
- one subplot of my story…
It was tedious but necessary. However, it wasn´t painful and when I was done, I thought: I´ve done it! I may have some more changes but nothing too too major. Yep, I had not yet realize what revising could really entail.
William Faulkner said: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” and Stephen King added: “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings“.
While I accepted this at face value, I didn´t realize what it really meant. I spent two years with that novel already. Scary. While I tried my hand at other stories, it´s the one I always came back to. I rewrote it, I changed some of the subplots along the way but the more I worked on certain parts, the more they became engraved in my heart. Some dialogues, some images, some parts of the story just needed to stay…until I came to a “Tada” realization: my story sucks.
Ok that was dramatic. It doesn´t suck. At all. Actually, it´s pretty great. But the way I was tiptoeing around it, afraid to hurt it had more to do with the fact that I was afraid of hurting my own self-esteem. What I finally saw was how much better my story could become if I actually dared to change it a bit. I am not rewriting the entire thing but I am deleting the first chapter (Tarah´s feedback on it helped with that…I finally saw my story more as a reader than as a writer…), I am changing the curse a bit to make it 1) more dramatic and 2) more coherent. I am adding one or two layers to some of the characters and I am taking the story to another emotional level. It will be a lot of work and it will not be the end of it (since I know more changes will probably come once it´s going through the beta-reading). but it will be worth it.
So, basically, my story with revising has been a bit like this:
And even though, I fell on my butt the first time around, the important thing is that I still managed to go back up and transform it into a “Tada” moment 😀
How about you, did you have any “Tada” or “Aha” moments in your writing/revising recently?