I just spent more or less the entire weekend sitting in a recliner and revising my book, and I couldn’t possibly feel any crazier for the experience. Daylight saving’s time didn’t help either, because it was all of a sudden 4am, and then I woke up at 9am and kept on going. I feel like I just went on a bender with someone I’m in a horrifying and destructive relationship with – we broke up and made up over and over for a period of days, and once we came down, we couldn’t even look at each other anymore.
I’m not sure this is a great way to feel about my book.
But the revision is coming along pretty well! I worked my way through the end of the book, improbably adding about 12,000 words (weird?!), and I’ve got a strategy for the final revision pieces:
– There are a couple of chapters that need some serious re-writing early in the book, so, that. But I know what I’m going to change with them, so, yay.
– Go through the notes I have from my writing group (etc.), make a bunch of sentence and paragraph level changes, and otherwise cinch up minor plot-like elements. (I’ve already been working a lot with the critiques I’ve received that are larger in scope).
– Do the couple of specific read-throughs that I have notes about (these are context specific, so I won’t bore you [or myself]).
– Perform an ensimplification wherever possible. I’m becoming more and more aware of the fact that I’m about equally likely to write a sentence that I think is quite nice, or a sentence that kind of spirals away from me. These sentences are pretty unsatisfying to read, and I’m feeling a lot less precious about them. My ancillary goal here would be to cut the word count by 5-10%. I don’t think that will be hard at all.
– Do one last spellcheckish kind of read-through just to make sure I have all my there/their/they’re stuff in order.
And that’s that! I expect I’ll wrap up by end of March. Then I’ll have only spent 19 months on the book. In hindsight, this seems like about 6 months longer than it probably should have taken, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It’s my first book, and I definitely spent a lot of time just figuring out a lot of stuff I shouldn’t keep doing when trying to write a book.
Regardless of whatever comes of this particular book, I definitely feel like I can write an entire book from an initially not-very-well conceived notion in about a year. That’s not nothing.
If you need me, I’ll be weeping over there.