Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Revising as I go

Every writer I know has a different process. There are those who have long periods of time when they are Writing and then months and months when they are Revising. I go back and forth between the two. Unless I'm really caught up in one plot point, scene rewrite, et cetera, odd-numbered days are revision days and even-numbered days are "writing forward" days. Whenever I think of a change I want to make or a potential discrepancy I want to resolve, I put it on a revision list so I can focus on it when its turn comes.

I have several reasons for working this way:
-I prefer to jump from one task to another in real life as well as in writing.
-My first two novels were mentorship projects with deadlines, and I had to make sure those revisions got done.
-Changes I make early in the manuscript are likely to affect what I write later.
-Visiting earlier chapters while I work on later ones keeps me aware of what happens everywhere in the manuscript and helps me keep the voice and characterization consistent.

But the main reason is that coming up with the original story is fun and I want to make it last. There will be plenty more revisions to make after I type the triumphant last line, and I'll enjoy them in their own way, but this method cuts down on the number of days in a row I'll end up reading the same chapters.

How about you? Whether you write novels, essays, emails, or anything else, when does revision happen?

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