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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Revision, Revision, Revision of the Revision, and final drafts

This is another non-articled post, for which I am not going to apologize, but will acknowledge. The quality of my commentary relates directly to what news and articles catch my eye, and nothing has really captured my attention lately (outside of things I don't want to touch with a ten foot pole in this venue), so this is what you get.

I've been doing a lot of writing, and I've been doing a lot of workshopping, and I've been doing a lot of revision work. Obviously workshopping lends itself to revision and rewriting, so that shouldn't really be much of a surprise. But my system is kind of ... Well, I don't know if it's odd or not, because I'm not sure I've ever really discussed it with any other writers. Basically, what I've noticed in the last couple of days, is that my turnover time for revisions is super fast. I send out my work to my workshop partners and beta readers, and the minute that I get their feedback and comments, I sit down and take a look at the piece again and accept or reject changes. I'm also exceedingly lucky to have really quick response time from a few key readers, so that helps a lot, but the evolution of my writing from first draft to revision x(^y) is really fast.

But how many times can you send the same piece [draft x(^y)] to the same people? You can't. Maybe a really sharp critique partner will be able to catch all the differences and see what you're doing, but sooner or later you're going to hit a point where their "new" eyes are not new enough anymore and you have to branch out to a different set of people in order to get appropriate and helpful feedback. Not to mention that they're probably sick of seeing the same thing over and over again.

So that brings me to my last point-- Final drafts.
Oh, Final Draft, my nemesis.
I don't have Final Drafts. Sorry. I just don't. Maybe I think I have a final draft, and I'm all excited, and I put it away, but because I genuinely adore and love my characters, I can't help myself from going back and revisiting them, rereading their stories for my pleasure. (Totally geeky, I know, but geez! if I don't love them enough to read their story repeatedly, I sure can't ask anyone else to read it a first time!) And a week, two weeks, three months, a year later, I'm looking at the "final" draft and seeing little things that should be changed. Maybe I have an extra sentence here, or a phrase I'm just not happy with there (and mostly it is cutting, more than anything else. refinement.) but the fact of the matter is I just turned my "final" into draft x(^y)+1 and have a new "final" draft to look at next time I just HAVE to reread my favorite chapter.

So. Final Schminal.

maybe this post should have been titled "Why are you counting your drafts, punk?"
or: "Revise until it SHINES"

I really shouldn't be talking about my process.

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