Changing Tracks: From Drafting To Revision

So this week I finally finished the extremely ugly first draft of my latest WIP (tentatively called FROZEN STAR.) Which means that now suddenly I have to switch from drafting-brain to revision.

It sometimes make me secretly suspect, especially when I consider the kind of revision I’ve undertaken previously, that somehow or other I was smarter in my past than I am now, perhaps better at revision than I am now. It’s a strange thought: to consider that perhaps I had the answers…and lost them, which now leaves me having to search for them all over again.

Maybe all of this comes from the whole difficulty of switching from the freely creative “write whatever you feel” phase of drafting a book (especially first draft), to the much more analytical and editorial task of revision, where I need to assess the mess I’ve spewed out and try to find the story therein.

Indeed, in an ideal world, I suspect this is why it’s “best” (so says the advice) to leave the WIP for as long as possible before turning around and trying to revise: that time not only helps provide distance from those words you barely got done, but also allows you time to switch gears in your mind, to go from creative to analytical.

Which led me today to go back through my blog archives to look up my own Rewrites in 4 Ease Phases (click the link too if you’d like to check it out – it’s from back in 2013.) How bizarre is it that I found myself wondering about the process all over again? Oh well. I’m very encouraging to myself, so hopefully this will help the revisions. 😉

That said, I’m onto the first stage: assessment. Eek. Just how ugly will this first draft look?

Now it’s your turn: how do you switch from drafting / creative brain to revision brain? Have you ever found yourself surprised by something you wrote / considered in the past that now seems somehow foreign? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a great week out there.

Eager to Start Something New

These cupcakes won't fill you up; my pin-cushion cupcakes I made as gifts. :)
These cupcakes won’t fill you up; my pin-cushion cupcakes I made as gifts. 🙂

You know when you’ve been working away at rewrites, and the whole time, like creamy, calorie-filled desserts when you’re dieting, a new story keeps teasing and tempting you to stray? Then suddenly you’re done, and holy honk, you have

no idea what the heck to start with?

That’s almost where I am right now.

The rewrites are FINALLY entering their final phase. [ Cue the: “ding dong the witch is dead” music here; seems suitable somehow. ] I’m into the final stretch, going over it one more time. And yes, I’m still finding a few annoying scenes / chapters that aren’t what they’re supposed to be, but mostly it’s clipping down excess words, smoothing out the odd sentence, etc.

And soon, I’ll finally be able to start something new. The idea has me salivating, and confused.

You see, I’ve had characters bouncing around in my head all year. “Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!” they say. But they’re from all over the place. Take the group of brothers that showed up who don’t fit anywhere into a series properly, and who really seem to want to be written first person (not how I generally write). And of course, there’s the novel that’s partially plotted, which is in part a rewrite of yet another beloved story, taking only the barest of the original concept and going from there. Then there are other neglected manuscripts, one that is complete in first draft but a terrific mess.

Famine over, I stand at the dessert table, and I have no idea what to pick. I can have and do anything I want, and suddenly, I’m not sure I want anything. The decision seems so difficult.

Perhaps part of it is getting back into the drafting phase when I’ve been stuck in rewrite-mode for so long now. Perhaps too it’s that throughout this rewrite, I’ve changed as a writer, grown. And I am also firmly resolved to never make as much of a mess as I did with this last book, especially taking on rewrites without a proper plan. (Foolish? Incredibly. More so? I did it more than once. Sigh.)

So, when offered the freedom to finally do whatever you want, how do you decide? Have you been in this position? How did you handle it?

Thanks so much for reading. And hey, like the post? Why not follow the blog? Have a terrific week, and happy writing to you. 🙂