Yesterday I finished writing the fourteen page document that outlines my plans for revising False Perceptions. This novel was written with the 2004 2yn class at Forward Motion. I revised it last summer and sent it out to critiquers, from whence it has recently returned. Shock of all shocks it isn’t perfect yet. Hard to believe, I know. It seems to me I should have been able to see some of these issues for myself, but as a writer you get very close to a story and you think that certain things are clear. After all, you see them clearly in your own mind. The difference between what I see in my mind and what I type into my keyboard apparently can be quite startling. Not only that, but there were fudge areas. Did I think my readers wouldn’t notice that the plot had some soft spots?
In planning this second revision, I referred back and forth between manuscript and crits thereof and broke down what needs to be changed in each scene. I’m embarrassed to think how few scenes were completely nailed and just need a minor grammar brush. Several scenes will be pretty much trashed and started over; some will sport new settings and some changes in characters. And I’m not off the hook on the 90% of the middlin’ ones, either. Many of them will require extensive work as well. One of my two main characters (yo, Treyan, are you listening?) will require a personality upgrade, and two others need less extensive facelifts. A few need to be re-named.
As I went through the novel and found holes, I flipped back and forth in the revision plan to find places to plug them. However (another big surprise…) when I got to The End and read back through the plan, I see that there are still issues in there that haven’t been addressed. Holes that haven’t been plugged. There are less holes, and the ones remaining are smaller, but it isn’t water-tight yet by any means. I’ve printed out The Plan so I can continue to work over it the next week, during which time I will be computer-less again for a few days.
This is not the fun part of the job. Anyone have any tips? How do YOU map out revisions?