What I learned About Revision

As you may remember from a previous update on Lucifer’s Favour, you’ll already know I struggled with the revision. It was so bad, I just couldn’t do anything anymore. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t open the document without my brain shutting down. I’d stare at the screen without doing anything. And because nothing was getting down, I stopped opening the document and spend time thinking what was wrong.

Figuring out what’s wrong

I first thought about what I was doing and what I wanted out of this revision phase. My editor had sent back the manuscript with a general critique and more specific comment in the document itself. So I was reading through the document tweaking the sentences I found jarring, taking note of my editor’s comments as I went, and trying to remember his general critique. Doing the analytical bits of tweaking words, sentences, and paragraphs didn’t mesh well with the creative part, the thinking of how to rework plot holes, add more description, or give flavour to certain parts. I also had a dozen decisions to make each time.

Now, I’ve had a small burnout before from decision making when our house was being built. Since I designed it myself with an architect, I was the one making all the major and minor decisions. And now I’m doing the same. Do I keep this plotline, and is the character change the right one? How do I give this character more screen time? Or should I just cut her out? These decisions would affect the rest of the book too, so if I changed it on page 30, I’d still have to consider the changes on page 120. Whoever said writing a book is easy never prepared a manuscript for publishing.

How to fix my process

As I was assessing my process and trying something new, Stephanie Burgis shared a link to Lindsay Eagar’s Creative Revisionist course. It came exactly at the right time. I wasn’t sure if I should take it because it was a huge investment and I talked about it with my husband. I don’t want to spend money if I don’t have to, but this was something that could help me improve my process, maybe even speed it up, and level up my craft skills. So I signed up. It was so worth it.

I was already working on a new outline of the book, one of the current state. Then, for each chapter, I wrote down what had to be changed. This saved a lot of space in my brain. I knew what I had to do, what I had to change, and how it would affect later bits in the book. It was out of my mind, and on paper. I could reference it whenever needed. I already decided before going back into the document, so no more decision paralysis.

This worked so much better. Another thing I stopped doing was sentence and word tweaking. This was still a developmental edit, not a line edit. I’d still have time later to fix this. By cutting this task out, I saved another big chunk of mental space.

Clear(er) mind

It felt like cleaning up a messy desk and only leaving the relevant things where I can see them. Learning more about the revision process and a change in mindset really helped me through this rough patch. I have lifetime access to the course and I know for sure I’ll revisit certain lessons as I start working on the next revision project.

I’m still a beginning writer and there are so many aspects of the writing and publishing process I need to learn and get better at. Investing in yourself by taking courses that fill up these knowledge gaps is the best thing you can do. Take the opportunities as they come to learn from more experienced people. There’s so much free knowledge out there, and I promise that spending money to fill the rest of the gaps is worth it.

One thought on “What I learned About Revision

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *