Some writers have writer blogs. Their posts are usually about writing or the road to publication or the business of being an author. This one is not. It’s more like a mommy blog, a survivor’s blog, a this-is-what-I-think-about-things sort of blog. So this post about writing also has a point about life.
I like to revise.
This is the part I wasn’t too thrilled about with my memoir. There weren’t that many ways to change that manuscript since the story was something that had actually happened. Then I wrote the first draft of my novel, and it was painful. The sheer audacity it takes to keep putting words on blank paper, hoping to reach a meaningful end, a publishable result – it’s massive, this audacity. And I barely managed to summon it during enough sit-downs to get a full manuscript. I could not wait to revise.
I like having characters and paragraphs and conversations and scenes that I can totally mess with as I try to perfect them for an actual audience. I can cut whole chapters and an entire character. I can add in new ones. I can create whole new conversations and scenes with the characters I really like. It’s awesome.
And it’s exactly what I love most about being human. I like to revise. I love it that we can revise. Isn’t it a beautiful thing that we don’t have to keep being a thing that we abhor? Laziness, rudeness, complaining – if we can only recognize these faults in ourselves, we can start to change them immediately.
I’m reading a book by Cheryl Klein, a Scholastic editor who worked on at least two of the Harry Potter novels. The book she’s written is blowing my happy writer MIND, because it’s so full of great advice for revising. Having just had a phone call with my agent about what steps to take next with my novel, I’m astounded how every page of this book feels like it’s addressing the very issues we discussed.
I can’t name a favorite part, because there are too many, but this one seems applicable. She says for your manuscript you need to figure out two things: the Story and the Point. The story is the plot – both the actual sequence of events and the emotional journey. The point is not necessarily what the author is trying to say, because that’s sort of discouraged in good story-telling, but it is the conclusion the main character reaches by the end or how they have changed.
So at the risk of deciding my point too soon and preaching it to myself instead of letting the story unfold, I kind of like the idea of considering my story and my point as I make decisions about my job, my spare time, and pretty much every single minute of every single day. Is this advancing my story the way I want it to? Do I like the point I’m getting to here?
I think this could help me exercise more, try new things, choose people over television… And it’s definitely helping me write. I’m rarely too tired now to work on my novel revisions, because that work is getting me to the story I’m extremely anxious to live.