At the moment, my thoughts are on revision because I'm revising my two novels, Ugly City and Volcano Child.
Revising, revising, revising.
I've been working so hard I'm beginning to see double. Are those two laptops I see before me?
Justine (Magic or Madness) has wise words about revising a novel in a long, special post:
There are two basic kinds of rewriting: structural and sentence level. Most beginner writers get caught up in sentence level changes. They go over their manuscripts deleting and switching words around (what’s called line editing in the biz). They do this before they’ve learned how to fix the structure. The result is lots of shifting around of deck chairs while the Titanic sinks.Maureen (Devilish) spiced up her blog post on rewriting with plenty of pictures of Cary Grant. She says:
Unfortunately she fails to answer a burning question: where does she get all those pictures of Cary Grant?
It’s a good thing that the Writer doesn’t design houses—because he would move the kitchen around seventeen times, rip out all the bathrooms, add six more stories, and set fire to the roof.
Scott Westerfeld (Scott is Justine's squeeze. The YA universe is a cozy one) has an even more alarming blog post on rewriting a novel (this one was Extras).
Apparently he had to face up to the fact that his ms wasn't working:
there I was, 16,000 words (65 pages) into my shiny wonderful new book. Except it wasn’t wonderful; something was deeply, deeply wrong. The voice, the plot, the structure all seemed to be sucking! No matter how much I edited the writing, smoothed the transitions, caffeinated the plot, or voicified the characters, it all just came out flat.In the end he threw out most of it and completely rewrote it from scratch.
Which brings us to Scott's ultimate rewriting advice:
Sometimes tossing out vast quantities of words is better than letting a whole book bleed slowly to death. Don’t give up, just start over.Could you bear to do it?