Sunday, November 13, 2011

revision: mad scientist...

I had three readers, my wife and my agent and an assistant at the agency where my agent is an agent, read the manuscript while I let it set. I lasted nine days before I went back to it. I would have liked to let it set longer, but I’m getting revisions back from my editor soon on my other novel, the one coming out next, and I wanted to try to get another draft of Mad Science done before I get those.

My agent is very excited by the manuscript, which makes me excited. She and the agency assistant had some suggestions for revision though and I’ve written these out and thought about them. I like to write them. It helps me see comments a little more clearly. My wife had pretty much the same reaction as agent and assistant but one of her concerns wasn’t brought up by the other two. What I’ll do is go through the manuscript with an awareness of potential problems suggested by the critiques and see what happens.

I have to stay true to the manuscript and my vision of it, of course, but every writer benefits from outside advice and criticism and so it’s important to try to figure out what problems may have made your readers feel something was off in a certain place or a certain way.

At any rate, I’m excited to get back to the manuscript and see how I feel about it. Also, for me, this is one of the best parts of writing. I’m reworking sentences to try to get the “lightening” and not the “lightening bug” effect. So much fun.

I’ve got through about fifty pages and though I am having a good time, I’m worried about the ending. The ending is where there are still problems and most of the questions of my readers came from the last thirty pages. There are things that aren’t clear. SO I could keep going and get there when I get there, maybe a week or two at most, but I decide to do something I do sometimes—I’m going to skip up there and drop into those last thirty pages and work on them.

This lets me focus on the problem area without having worked through the whole novel which makes me fresher toward it. And I know I’ll go back to p. 50 and work forward again after I’ve gone over these last 30 pages so I’ll get the continuity I need when I do that.

Sometimes it’s helpful to work on one section or one problem or character etc… when you revise rather than doing the more general revision.