Last month I had an idea.
“I’m going to spend February revising my manuscript for The Witch’s Patron,” I said to myself. “Then I’ll be able to get back to focusing on my other projects!”
How hard could it be? I had already received and reviewed notes from my beta readers, so I knew what I needed to focus on. Plus I had already written a bunch of new scenes back during NaNoWriMo 2017, so my word count was much healthier than when I originally finished the first draft.
I spent the last half of January getting ahead on The Wind and the Horizon so I could have all 28 days of February to focus on my revisions. It was going to be a great a productive month and, when it was over, I intended to have a polished and significantly stronger story ready to query once pitch season rolled around!
As of right now there’s a week left of February and I still haven’t finished making my first pass of line edits.
It turns out revising a manuscript is every bit as tedious and soul-sucking as far more experienced writers say time and again.
When am I going to learn?
What I originally thought was going to be a quick pass to fix some typos and reacquaint myself with the story before going on to make the changes identified by my beta readers quickly spiralled into what can only be described as a very rude wake-up call.
Now, i’s not like I haven’t had to do revisions and rewrites before – just never on this scale. The Starborn Series books are web serials that get posted weekly, so I’m rarely reworking more than a handful of chapters at once. I even did a major rewrite of the short story The Witch’s Patron is based off of, but that was only 2,000 words.
But this? This was something else entirely.
I wrote The Witch’s Patron for NaNoWriMo 2016. Having done very little pre-planning I was rushed and frantic, and it shows. Sure, there are parts that still really hold up on their own; I don’t have to rewrite all of it… But I do have to rewrite a lot.
Early on in the process, as the reality was starting to hit me, I felt hopeless. I was convinced the story was terrible and it wasn’t even going to be worth the time it’s going to take to make it better. I even (briefly) considered tossing it like the trash I was convinced it was.
But I had loved the story once upon a time, hadn’t I?
And my beta readers really enjoyed it too.
It couldn’t be that bad, right?
So, rather than giving up, I stuck it out. I got to the parts I really loved and they reminded me of why I believed in the story in the first place. Soon, I wasn’t looking at all the red ink and sticky notes (yes, I’m doing this the old fashioned way with a hard copy) as daunting work to be done, but rather as exciting opportunities to make the story I love the best it can be.
There is no way I’m going to have this project finished by the end of the month; I definitely bit off more than I can chew with that goal. But I am going to keep working on it and I’m not going to rush it.
This story has potential. I just have to give it the time and hard work that it deserves.
Have any revision stories or tips you want to share? Tell me all about it in the comments!