Let’s Make A Mess

“Revision is making a mess, not straightening up.  (Editing is straightening up).”  ~Heather Sellers, Chapter After Chapter

I thought this was a great way to differentiate between revision and editing.  The chapter this comes from is all about making changes, small and large–creating different versions of something and with each one comming successively closer to the truth of a piece.  Sellers said that 80% of her time is spent revising.  Which sounds horrible.  But the way she describes it, writing IS revision.  (That may actually be the title of the chapter, now that I think about it).  I have to say, it made me feel a lot better about all of my stops and starts and attempts at plotting.  I keep having to remind myself that writing is a slow process.  Doing it well takes time and so much effort.  Revision really is a messy process for me.  I frequently axe huge quantities of words, toss out subplots, even overhaul entire main plots in the course of writing a book.  Over the course of years, I’ve been refining my technique, I suppose, still trying to find the best way that works for me.  But to a point, that will change from project to project.  Each book has different needs, as each of our children has different needs.

I’m still in the outline/plotting phase on Til Death. I’ve been making big strides…it’s about 8 pages long now, with 42 planned scenes, and I’m not even finished with Act 2 yet.  Some scenes have more detail and a clearer purpose than others.  There are points on the outline like “Second body is found.  Where?  Why? How?  By whom?”  Even when I get back to the writing, I will be revising the outline as some of those smaller “why this?” occurs to me.  So far the plotting process has gone pretty well this go round.  I’ve been a bit stymied this week, but last night the logjam in my head finally broke free.  Now I just have to figure out the details between where I left off in the outline and the third act.  I pretty well know how that is going to shake out.  And then I finally get to start the writing again, which both fills me with excitement and terror (I do not consisder plotting and outlining, no matter how detailed, to be writing.  For all intents and purposes, I haven’t really written in 2 or 3 weeks.).  But hey, gotta start somewhere, and at least on this trip I have a road map.

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