(Re)writing is a Process
I love writing. I love the process of taking an incomplete story or poem and seeing how the words come together to craft a finished product. I could probably sit and write forty hours a week for years and still enjoy writing.
As long as I am writing new things.
I hate revising. I hate hate hate it, especially because over time it clearly becomes a necessity. What begins as a great story eventually develops noticable flaws after the seventh or eighth reading. Returning to something written years, or even months ago tends to give a fresh set of eyes to notice things that need changed.
And I hate changing them. I wish everything I wrote could come out in a nice, neat, polished final draft. Unfortunately I don’t believe I have ever had that happen. I’ve had passable first drafts, especially for school papers and projects. But I have never had a story or poem come out that, over time, is above the need for some sort of tweak or alteration.
Over the course of thirteen installments of the Curse of Fierabras, I started to notice things that I wanted to go back and change, or at least tidy up. Details to add, extra words to cut out, meaningful dialogue to insert. That sort of stuff. Especially for the earliest installments.
Because, really, I had no idea where I was heading until I wrote the synopsis. I was very much winging it, hoping to find a way to end each installment in a way that would lead into another idea (while making the reader want to come back in a week).
So this week, after deciding that I needed to return to blogging and writing on a regular basis, I wanted to go back and read through all thirteen parts before writing the last one.
I got through the first one. For once, I wanted to stop and rewrite things. So I decided to go with my instincts and attack that part. After about forty minutes, my word had a ton of red throughout the paragraphs. It astonished me, when I reached the end and looked back, how much I considered changing. Some of the changes noted were to remove a few words. Some to change some words or rearrange the order of a sentence. Other times it was as simple as “Show, don’t tell” written after a sentence. And, ultimately, I challenged myself to follow conventional fiction writing and place things into the past tense.
Normally, during a revision, the document gets smaller in size. I did cut out a lot of unnecessary words. But I also added and elaborated in enough spots that my Part I is now about 250 words longer than the original rough draft.
And I am itching to get started on Part II.
How do you feel about the process of revising your work? Is it something you look forward to, or something you dread and avoid?