Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Battling the alligators

I think most writers would agree with me that it is more difficult to revise than to create a book.

The first draft comes easily. Ideas flow and plot twists abound. Characters become our new best friends. Our fingers can't keep up with our thoughts. It's like dancing to music only we can hear.

But revision--that necessary evil--is a much slower process. I've been working on the same chapter for two days, taking out a paragraph, then putting it back in. Replacing a word with a more descriptive one. Adding  action to show what the characters are thinking. Adding description and then wondering if I've gone too far and it the reader really needs to know what something looked like.

I've removed whole sections  and  replaced them elsewhere in the story. I've removed other sections and hit delete. I've written new scenes.

In the last hour I've agonized over a section that might or might not be important to the plot. Not crucial, but not just filler, either. A point has to be made, a hint dropped. Am I taking too long to plant the seeds? Can I tighten the scene to make it move along more quickly?

In short, I feel as if instead of dancing I'm slogging through a swamp. With mosquitoes. And alligators.

I'm not complaining. I've been through this swamp before. I'll make it to the other side.

And then I'll take a break and start all over again.

Because that's what writers do.


  1. That's what writers do. Yay!

    I love to revise, but there comes a point when we have to just let go of the scene. Right?

  2. Yep. I agree with Carole - don't over think your scenes, but don't be lazy, either. It's a fine line, one only writers get to walk!

  3. I am always glad when I've called my book FINISHED. Then comes the revision part of it, which I really don't mind; I find some things that I otherwise would not have caught. Recently someone reviewed my last book and said it hurried along too fast! Well, he got the book one day and wrote the review the next day! No wonder he said it went too fast...:o) Have fun, fellow writers!