Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo or Revision Hell

So my lovely critique group cohorts are all participating in NaNoWriMo and, I'm guessing, won't be posting much here this month thanks to their aching fingers. I went back and forth deciding between becoming a first-time NaNo participant and doing revisions on my recently completed YA ms. Revisions won out thus making me the lone NaNo holdout in my group, and it's why I'm in the midst of revision hell right now. Side note: If you don't think revision hell is an actual place, you haven't been to my house. Here's the thing though - I'm having fun in hell. Who knew?

Here's how my first draft revision went down: I went through about 20 chapters tonight and revised the heck out of them. Then I realized that due to all my brilliant revisions, I created an inordinate amount of additional things that needed to be revised. There must be a mathematical formula that supports this - e.g. for every one thing you change, the resulting things that require changes grows in an exponential fashion. At any rate, I changed a secondary storyline, re-wrote scenes, deleted scenes, polished dialogue and killed a character (and by killed, I mean I took them out of the story altogether - I didn't maul them with a candlestick).

Then I settled into my pillows - because what better place is there to do revisions than in bed - with my laptop, my green tea, and my printed manuscript (the one now scattered over my bedspread with my chicken scratch notes scrawled on it) and sighed. It dawned on me that as fast as I'm capable of working, this process won't be a quick one - in fact, it will take me longer to revise the book than it did to write it. That was an eye-opener. Not to mention that my wonderful critique partners haven't yet read it and that's when the heavy revisions will begin.

So why am I finding it fun? Because even after only half of one revision, my book is better. It's better now than it was yesterday and with more feedback from beta readers and critique partners, along with countless other revisions, it will get even better. On the business end, I have no idea how this will turn out - if the book will get published or find an agent - but that would be icing on the cake. I'm writing the best book I can and am having a blast doing it. Talk to me when I'm on revision number 19, and I may not sound so cheerful...:) Where are you in your revision process? What number revision are you tackling right now?

Feel free to comment about anything you want: NaNo, revisions, whether the Saints will go undefeated, etc?

FYI: Elana Johnson from Querytracker has a fabulous post with tips on the revision process. Her blog is filled with great info and can be found here.


  1. Ha! Great post, Kristi! I'm still in revision hell on project #1, but none the less I am totally in to NaNo project right now.

    I feel you on the revisions. Since the first group critique, my Project #1 has changed drastically, but it's fun to make the changes, after you get over the initial shock of deleting half of it.
    Good luck and I can't wait to read it!

  2. Thanks for the shout out!

    And didn't you know that Revision Hell is a lounge on the ledge? Don't know about the ledge??? It's only this wicked awesome theme park where sometimes we fling ourselves off the ledge just to see if we can fly. Right next to Revision Hell is the "I-Can't-Do-This" Cafe. I try to stay out of there. Because on the other side of Revision Hell is the "I-Am-Awesome!" night club. And it's hoppin' in there. Sometimes I can hear the music through the walls...

  3. Elana - you crack me up. Let me know if you try out that night club - it sounds amazing but like one of those places you have to be on "the list" to get into :)

  4. Hi, I'm new! My first novel is being considered by an agent at the moment. I enjoyed the revision process too. I loved figuring out the knots in the plot, although that mostly happened in the first draft. I think writing fiction is the best job in the world and I love every bit of it, even the horrid bits!


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