Rewriting Revelation

I had a revelation today.

Rewriting is difficult, and there is no right way to do it.

This day began with so many good intentions. I had plans to get through one-third of the Ivolet manuscript, editing, critiquing, noting what I liked, and noting what I didn't like. That was what I did when I transitioned from the first draft to the second draft.

It sounds good in theory, but then I realized that if I did the same thing after my second draft that I did after the first draft, I'd be exactly where I am now. I have a feeling that I could, forever, go through that routine. Deleting characters, bringing characters to the forefront, getting rid of subplots, adding subplots. It doesn't end, at least in my foresight. It just goes on and on and on, no end in sight.

This is not a good place to be. It calls for drastic action. (We are all familiar with the definition of insanity, right?) It calls for change. It calls for a new way of looking at things. I've never been keen for new ways of looking at things; but I am more keen on getting this thing published. I've worked way too hard on it to just quit. Too much invested to give up now.

So instead of spending time rewriting/editing, I spent time researching. And researching. And researching. I wish I could post every site that I looked at, but I jumped around so often that it would be of very little help. I thought I had touched every writing website on the web, but it seems that was far from the truth. It probably still is, but I would be surprised. (At the end of this post, I'll see what I can do about posting a list of what I found today. Probably very little description, though.)

What I discovered wasn't necessarily what I wanted to find. It seems that it is extraordinarily different for everyone. Some people write one draft, some people write eight. I am so sick of finding forums of unpublished writers who are trying to discover how many drafts their NaNoWriMo novel should have now. Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge NaNoWriMo fan (never had the guts to pursue it, but still) - but I don't consider it legitimate, publishable writing. Has a bestseller ever been originally NaNoWriMo?

I can't say that I have a 'typical' rewriting tradition. After all, this is the first time I've begun a third draft. But here is the best thing that I found, something that I think will help me focus, a sales pitch for a course in How to Revise Your Novel, by Holly Lisle. It looks like it could be good, could be a waste of money, I have no idea. But what I do know is that the following quote helped me:

"Trauma Triage, where the objective is to FIND the big bad stuff before your patient croaks.
Major Surgery, where the objective is to FIX the big bad stuff before your patient croaks.
Cosmetic Surgery---all that fiddle-farting around you do to make your patient pretty once the big stuff is over."

I saw that and thought, "I can do that." Indeed, I have been doing it, haphazardly. I've had every step in my head, but I've been bouncing around them all in a horrible mess of things. This makes sense to me. I can do this.

So, if I triumphed today, it was because of this. If I had success today, it was because of this. Notice that I say "if." I'm still not sure if I did have success today. It's too soon to tell. Tomorrow will tell, and Tuesdays are notoriously poor days for me. It will have the ultimate Tuesday Telling Test.

I am learning that the time that I begin to use lovely little alliterations (or puns), that it is time to end. I did a lot more exploring today than just rewriting, but I like to keep posts topic-oriented and not too long, so I'll stop here. Below find the links that I found on rewriting. Some were more helpful than others, some not at all, but I don't have time to write exquisite descriptions. Happy exploring!

EDIT: I forgot to add one very important link. (I would have put it in the post, but there's not place where I won't interrupt the flow of the writing. So it gets an addendum here at the end, despite its amazing helpfulness.) It's the 11th Hour Checklist. It's a PDF, but you can check out the website, too. The checklist is going to help me for a long time.

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