In the Outer Reaches of Revision Land

This image best describes revising my NaNoWriMo piece:

It’s an arctic tundra of bad sentences, plot holes, and every kitchen-sink scene to fill a (possible) young adult novel. (Time will tell if it remains one.) It looks overwhelming at first, but I have this insane belief a story dwells in the mess. I have to connect the bones, and luckily I have heaps of help in NaNo’s ‘Now What?’ months.

The figuring-out-the-bones part comes from writer Susan Dennard:

Still, the bones of Truthwitch’s story were there, and once I’d figured out exactly how I wanted the story skeleton to look, then I was able to begin the actual revisions process.

Of course a list will happen. A list always happens with me. Whether I follow the list remains to be seen, but it can’t hurt during the revision process:

First, I’m going to make a checklist of things that define what done looks like. Maybe it’s a detailed outline of plot points. Maybe it’s exploring a character’s background. Maybe it’s finding a beta reader. (Grant Faulkner, NaNoWriMo Executive Director)

I began the process last week using Dennard’s words as guidance. I went through the first five chapters marking characters in pink to note their relationship to the main character. Parts I liked, or had some humour, had orange as their assigned colour. Yellow has an interesting role to play. It’s not for the things going bad, although I noted them in the margins. I had so much going on in the draft, it’s like five stories played out in the draft, and all of them went nowhere. Again, NaNo means writing it down, even if the inner critic winces. Now it’s time to do less wincing, and dig for the bones of the story.

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