Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Playing the Revision Game

by Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

At one point this morning, I had three Chapter 21s. No, I am not joking.

I was frustrated. I kept trying to make new things happen, and the story traveled down the same well-worn path. The wrong path. I wanted to drag the entire manuscript to the trash.

This is what happens when you're revising. You rip out pieces. You write new ones. You move things around. You realize that the scene you just wrote really belongs about three chapters earlier. You start hating your story.

It's messy. It's necessary. And if you're not careful, it will drive you batty.

But I'll live, I guess.

Into all of this comes an exciting new project, one with a deadline of 1 September 2012. And a theme. I won't say more yet because, well, I don't know if I should. But it's kind of cool.

It also gives me an opportunity to use a new trend on Twitter - #1k1hr. The concept is that you write 1,000 words in 1 hour. No editing, no revising. Just write. I like the concept because as writers sometimes the hardest part of what we do is just power through the words. I'm just not sure how it works with my current rewrite. Do I see if I added 1,000 words in an hour? But what if what I need to do is rip out 1,000 words?

You see the dilemma.

But there are days when it's hard to sit down and "get-r-done," so I can see the value of #1k1hr.

What do you do on the days where the words just don't come or the rewrite seems to be going nowhere?


  1. This all sounds so familiar! I did three rewrites on In Spite of Murder and by far the hardest one was the complete restructuring of the book. Some days it brought me to tears. I hated it. All in all, it was worth it. It's a much better book now.

    Keep going!

  2. Well, this is my second. I did very little restructuring the first time and yes, it was much easier. I do think the story is better, it's just to back-breaking (figuratively speaking) to get there!