Okay, writers, I need some serious help.
I’m working on revisions for my novel, swollen at current count to 288 pages and 58,000 words. If I ever want my book to make it off my computer and into a bookstore (yes, this one in France would be nice), then I need to get crackin’.
I don’t have an MFA. I’ve never attended a “Write Your Novel in a Year” workshop. In other words, I’m making this up as I go.
This is pretty normal for me, given my over-inflated sense of my own capabilities. It’s like when I was a counselor at Malibu Young Life Camp as a college student, and we needed a waterski instructor. I volunteered.
“Ever waterskied?” asked the camp director.
Like that matters, I thought.
Anyway, here’s my current strategy: I’ve got a list of things to add or change during revisions. I’ve already done the easy things, like using the “replace” function to contract “I am” to “I’m” (my characters are teens, after all), and I’ve finally figured out the main character’s class schedule—for a while she had three different classes 5th period. I’m left with a list of comments like, “Make sure this character always chooses to joke around instead of sharing her true feelings.” These are not quick, simple edits—they require major corrective surgery.
Did I mention that this list is six pages long?
Since I can’t hold six pages of anything in my head, I’m re-reading my novel revising for related issues—as many as will fit on two sticky notes. I estimate I will need to read my novel all the way through maybe, oh, fifteen more times.
I am going to hate this book before I’m done with it. How did God do it? He worked on his book for hundreds of years!
So, if you’re out there, in the whole wide world of the Internet, and you get this message, please, I’m begging you with the very few shreds of sanity left me, please leave a comment, and tell me there is a better way.
And, of course, please tell me what it is. Now would be good.