Learning a new revision process: Sunday ROW80 check-in

ROW80LogocopyOne of my goals for the second round of ROW80 was to finish a second draft of my novella “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” With less than a week to go, that goal is clearly not going to be met. But the good news is that the manuscript is much better than it was when I started this round. I’ve come to realize that I needed a different way of approaching revisions.

I started out trying to revise from beginning to end. That method didn’t work, and I spent a couple weeks spinning my wheels. Now, I’m revising based on which scenes/chapters need the most work—they need a full rewrite, or have major issues with character development or world development. Revising out of order has proven to be much more productive and efficient than working on the chapters in order.

Out of all of this, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about allowing my process to grow and evolve. Getting stuck proved to be a wonderful opportunity to find a new process, one that works much better for me.

Has this ever happened to you? In what ways has your writing process changed as you’ve grown as a writer?

ROW80 check-in

1.) Writing:

  • Goal: to finish the second draft of the novella I finished in Round 1, “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Wrote/rewrote several scenes. Partial revision to one chapter. Started a character voice journal.

2.) Read 4 books on the craft/business of writing.

  • 4 of 4 books read. Continued reading a fifth book, “Revision and Self-Editing” by James Scott Bell.

3.) Social media:

  • Check in on Twitter daily. Goal met.
  • Comment on 3-5 blogs per day, Monday-Thursday. Goal met.
  • Blog 2 times a week. Goal met.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

To fellow ROWers, good luck with the last few days of this round!

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14 thoughts on “Learning a new revision process: Sunday ROW80 check-in

  1. Pingback: In fits and spurts - Final Checkin - ROW80 | Andrew Couch

  2. I don’t look a it as being stuck anymore. I see it as a sign that I need to stop and reassess.

    As far as writing process evolution – for me, it’s like everything else in life. I intend to keep learning and growing for as long as I live, in all the areas of my life.

    Right now, I’m finding this in drafting and revising. There wasn’t much of a plan at all in my first WIPs, just a drive to write stories I needed to tell. Now, I see that I have a double series- but untangling and streamlining is going to be an involved long-term process. I expect to learn a great deal as I move through the process over the next few years.

    You may not have attained that revision goal, but what you’ve learned along the way will undoubtedly have benefits that offset that slowdown, and allow you to create something far better than you might have. Score! =D

    • Agreed. I don’t think we ever stop growing–as writers or as people. There’s always another level of growth to strive for.

      Like yours, my earliest works were stories I wrote because I had to tell them, to get them onto the page. Every story I’ve written has taught me something, even those early tales that will probably never be published. Even when I’ve written myself into a corner, I’ve still gained a new kernel of knowledge for the next manuscript.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Pingback: Creative Delving : ROW80 Update, 6/25/14 | shanjeniah

  4. I agree with Shan that getting stuck is usually for me a sign that I need to tackle things a different way — and that is often a learning process. 🙂 Glad you were able to find a more effective way to deal with revision! My first step is usually to print the whole thing out, mark it up like crazy, then go from there. *g*

    • My first step was the read-through–I read it on my Kindle because that gets me thinking of the manuscript as a book I’m reading instead of as a WIP. That went fine. It was actually getting in there and getting my hands dirty where I began to struggle. But I found my way out and now things are moving along at a steady pace.

      Thanks, Ruth.

  5. I’m not sure if I can revise in that fashion. Even just adding a few scenes “out of order” for Soulless is a struggle for me. But that just shows how everyone functions differently. I’m glad you found something that works out for you.

  6. Oh, I’m so linear, I don’t think I could revise out of order. I certainly can’t write out of order!

    As far as how the writing process has changed for me as I’ve grown…the main thing is my first draft is much cleaner, so I have fewer revisions. In fact, I don’t like to even use the words “revision” or “rewrite”. I like the kinder, gentler term “edits”. 🙂

    • We all have to find the process that works best for us. If yours is a more linear process, I say go for it!

      The cleaner the first draft, the easier the edits. I actually plotted my story this time, so structure and plot wise, it’s so much closer to where it needs to be than other first draft I’ve written. I’m definitely not a full-out pantser anymore. I’m hoping as I grow, my first drafts will be, like yours, cleaner and cleaner.

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