Revisions! ACK! But the manic writing was so much fun! Why do I have to go back to revisions now?
Ok. Now that the whining part is over...
Hi. Welcome to Revision Hell. Won't you join me in my own personal pain?
No, seriously. Revisions are...a necessary evil if one wishes to become a published author of good novels that everyone wants to read. Or so I'm told. And yes, they can be painful.
As I look at the first/second/third/millionth draft of my chosen project, I see where I started the story a bit too late. Well, the most recent incarnation, that is. The inciting incident actually happened in the back story.
What is an inciting incident you ask? Why, that's the whole reason the story exists to begin with. Something happened that triggered other somethings that triggered a reaction that triggered...you get the idea.
I've signed on for a year of writing tutorials with Writer's Digest and one of them I've listened to so far talked about the inciting incident or the plot catalyst as the instructor called it. Now, since the instructor was an actual agent and since she was talking about why queries get rejected by her agency, I was definitely sitting up and paying attention. Her agency is also the one I intend to target with my project once it's finished. Well, one of the first ones I'll send it to. I'll need to pick out a few more because it's not very smart to hang my hopes on just one agency.
There was a lot more valuable information in this tutorial. If you're interested in what the tutorials do have to offer, you can sign up on the Writer's Digest tutorial page. It's $25 a month, $199 a year. Lots of good tutorials there. It's mainly listening and looking at a slide presentation but you can do screen captures and take notes that way. Or listen to the same tutorial over and over again if you wish. I've learned quite a bit already. Which brings me back to...Revision Hell (imagine a booming, echoing voice over here).
So, since I've figured out I started my story too late, it gives me an opportunity to do a bit more writing. Kind of a peace offering or reward for actually working on revisions. My story is going to remain essentially the same, I just back up in the timeline a bit.
I had written a scene as a flashback but now that scene is my opening scene. Event timing is also about to change in which my plot catalyst will occur. In fact, already has as I write this now. Happened in the first chapter. The tutorial indicated that the plot catalyst should happen within the first 30-50 pages of the book. Check!
Now all I really need to do is sift through scenes that have already been written to find the ones that either fit better now or not at all. And there are lot of scenes. This particular project has been in the works since, oh, 1995 and has seen numerous and I do mean numerous revisions, rewrites, complete overhauls, etc. There are scenes that I have written that I really liked but I had to cut then out when the story became something completely different. Not really a good way to write a novel, I must say. It never gets done if you keep writing it over and over.
That's why I now have a deadline to get this novel through this initial revision run so that it can go out to beta readers to rip it apart and tell me where the real revisions are. That deadline is New Year's Eve - this year, 2014, just so we're clear. I know at least two people who might be reading this who are now jumping up and down for joy. They're the ones who have been nudging me to pick something and just get on with it. Now that I have, I'd best get back to it.
Deep breath, make the leap - Geronimo!