Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Writing Topics---Revisions

By Maggie

Whew. I just finished the rough draft for the first Molly Malone mystery. Now----the real work begins. Revisions. If you've been reading this blog for a few months you've heard me talk about my "favorite" part of the writing process. And the hardest. Revisions are where--as some writers put it---the REAL writing work begins.

I always write a rough draft first. That's when I tell the story. I don't care about style, just substance. "Get the story down on paper," I always tell people when I'm talking at conferences. Until you do, you have nothing to work with.

Revisions are where I see what needs to be done. That first revision is always the roughest. It's huge. That's where the biggest problems jump right out in front of me. Everything from logic problems, plot development,, clues---big stuff. I concentrate on the biggest problems and fix those. Then---I start the second revision, where a whole bunch of new problems suddenly become visible. And so it goes---through every revision. With luck, by the time I get to the last revision #5, it's down to finetuning.

Revisions are hard work, yes, but they're also enjoyable---in that we get to use that analytical left brain. And that is satisfying---in a weird sort of way. Face it---novelists are kind of strange.

I know a lot of our bloggers are writers as well as readers. Any of you want to share some "revision" stories?