For most of this year, I’ve been revising a novel. With the encouragement of family and friends, I finished writing it around the end of January. I thought it might take a few months to revise. Instead, it took about a year.
It’s easy to get frustrated with revising. At first, it doesn’t seem as fun as writing. It can be a slow process and sometimes I’m not sure if all the revising makes the story better or worse. Sometimes I revise too much, to the point of excessive second guessing. I’ll change a sentence, then change it back, then change it again. That’s when the fun really begins.
So I was surprised to learn that revising can be just as fun as writing. I’ve gotten to know the story and the characters better this year. They did a few things they hadn’t done before, unexpected things that ended up strangely making sense.
One of the things I love about writing is when the words somehow fall into place and something comes through that wasn’t intended. It just works and it’s magic. That can happen with revising too. While deleting scenes or chunks and adding different ones in, I never know exactly what I’m doing. I only know as a reader when something doesn’t work. Then I tear it to pieces. Somehow the pieces fall back together. I still have no idea how that happens.
I’ve heard writers say they don’t feel like they’re the ones writing. When the writing is working, it does feel that way. So then when the writing or revising isn’t working, it’s probably just me interfering with the magic.
Because it’s magic, I can’t fully figure it out. I just have to try not to interfere with it too much.