Thursday, July 21, 2005

Really Hard Copy

Yesterday I finally took a look at the printed pages of my vampire series proposal--roughly 70 double-spaced pages, four chapters. I hadn't thought it needed many revisions before sending it to my agent.

But holding it in my hand versus gazing at it on the computer screen made a huge difference. I saw so many unnecesary words and places where the characters didn't "sound like themselves."

For a few moments I despaired. This sucks, I thought. What made me think I could write this kind of book? Then I got to work, slashing and cutting like my blue ballpoint was a machete, and I felt much better.

One of my not-so-guilty secrets is that I love revising. It's not as romantic as that hyperventilating rush of the first draft, but it holds more magic for me, figuring out a way to chip out all the parts that aren't the story and build from there. It appeals to my analytic nature, I guess.

Anyway, today's writing tip is: Always edit from a hard copy. And try not to burn it in a fit of self-loathing. It'll get better.


I love revising, too. Thinning text is a joy -- as long as it's voluntary.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 7/21/2005 11:37 AM

The thing I miss most about first drafts is listening to music. I can't do it at all when I revise, because I need to hear the words in my head. Luckily, sometimes revision requires writing a whole new scene, so I can dive back into that first-draft experience for a few hours.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/22/2005 8:49 AM

It's funny, but I am often the same way when programming. The hardest part for me is building the initial version. I am much happier going back over the thing and tweaking it here and there. Sometimes the smallest change can make the application so much better. That's always more rewarding to me.

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 7/26/2005 8:43 AM

It's amazing how similar the processes of writing code and writing fiction can be. I can remember sitting in a doctor's office once and suddenly figuring out how to write a tough query--the same sort of AHA! moment that happens with writing.

Sometimes I wish I had pursued programming as a career. I enjoyed it, had a knack for it. My former boss had other plans, though, and was trying to make a Mini-Her out of me.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/27/2005 7:29 AM

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