Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ahhh -- Revisions

Just when you thought that staring at that empty page had been a chore and wondering how you're ever going to come up with anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000+ words in a coherent manner to convey your story, revisions loom in that dark, untapped zone of the mind. Sure. You've developed your characters; they've adequately grown during the course of the story. You've followed the three act structure in creating your story. You've got action. You've drafted precious little backstory. You've even included a few magical words along the way. You've typed the ### at the end of your manuscript, done your happy dance, gone out to celebrate the completion of your story . . . but now what?

Revisions. What's the best way to tackle them? Don't do them. Let me rephrase that. Take that gloriously completed manuscript and shove it in a drawer . . . for awhile. While you can easily distance yourself from a short story in a week's time and come back to edit it, it's best to allow at least three months, even up to a year, before beginning the task of making revisions to a novel-length manuscript. Really. Your story and the intriguing characters that you've brought so beautifully to life have been actively jumping around in your brain for awhile now. You need a to take a break from your story. No one ever died from separation anxiety when taking time away from a freshly completed book manuscript, so get out there. Be around human beings again. Get back into nature. Go to Disneyland. Do just about anything but look at, analyze or even think about your story. After you've completed at least three months away from your potential Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, congratulate yourself. You've just completed the first task of the revisions process. Get out there and celebrate. Then prepare yourself for that foray into dark, untapped portion of your mind.


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