I am not a hugely organized person. My husband would probably say that’s a huge understatement, but the truth is I CAN be organized, but I often CHOOSE not to be. Do I sound like a smoker? I can quit any time I want.

To me, creativity is a funnel. You have a wide opening at the beginning, just let everything in, just pour it all in, the good and the bad, because they’re hard to tell apart. Then the funnel starts to taper little by little until only a small amount is pouring through. The good stuff.

That’s how I feel my writing process is and the pouring is over. The funnel is tightening. I’m starting to get feedback on Herbert. So far it’s all solid and encouraging, but my wheels are spinning on all the changes I need to make, elements I need to strengthen, confusion I need to clarify. This means I actually have to be sort of organized. (Growl.)

So I’m making a list. My husband would probably make a detailed spreadsheet but making this list is rather painful I tell you. It has numbers and indentations with little letters. Eck! Blech! I’m having difficulty breathing. I think I may be developing a rash. But in the end I think it will be for the best. I’ll focus on specific sections or characters or elements and then maybe it won’t be so daunting.

How do you handle revisions?


6 comments

  1. Thanks, once again, for your kind words.

    • ali

    • January 26, 2011

    • 12:14 am

    I loved your description of the funnel and how the drafting is like pouring all the stuff into it. I’m excited for you and the positive feedback you’re getting! Revisions are fun! Yeah!

    And I’m not even being a little sarcastic.

    I find the revision process highly creative, just in a different way.

    I print my MS, then read it through, making little marks or notes as I see stuff. Then I go back to the computer and go through the little notes I made.

    Then I print again, and go through for setting/description. This is where it gets creative again. Because now I get to use my imagination and figure out more beautiful or interesting ways to say what I said in such a sucky way the first time through.

    After I get those changes into the computer, I print again and go through for character development, usually one character at a time. Making sure the arc is right, that the characters aren’t flat. That sort of thing.

    It’s a bit daunting, but it’s also really exciting because every time through it gets so much stronger and awesome.

    Can’t wait to see what beautiful art you produce through all your hard work!

  2. I’m kind of weird. I love making lists. I have an entire notebook devoted to lists. But. Following through on those lists is an entirely different story.

  3. Hmm, I thought I already commented, but I guess I didn’t…

    I’m with Rachel Sue – I love making lists, especially when it comes to revising. It’s so encouraging to fix an item that needs fixing and check it off the list.

    Good luck with your list, Liesl. Way to shake things up:)

  4. I am thrilled to find others who like to revise. I find lots of complaints and I don’t get it. Why buy a silver service if you don’t want to polish it?
    Red ink insults people too and I just want to fall over laughing. Someone took the time to care and spend time on you…to make you look good and you are unhappy? “Now that there be funny, I don’t care who you are.” As Larry the cable guy (talker of verbal repute) would say.

    Ali I love your idea for setting edits…whee I can’t wait to try that!

    I don’t care for lists (I tend to misplace them) but I do take extensive research notes. If I am writing about some day in history, I know what the weather was for that day. I hate reading some novel and the person doesn’t know that it happened to be the coldest year on record, but they describe day after day of sunny warm balmy days. How picky is that? LOL
    Worse, they forget to put some huge historical event in context to how it would be seen by the characters. (I read a novel set in the fall of 1963 once that never mentioned JFK, but showed the character watching TV!)

    I go through my MS with a timeline edit. If I refer to any date, solar event, full moon or terrible moment in history, everything else better play correctly. A little fudge is great, but too much will rot the teeth of your novel.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

    • Liesl

    • February 1, 2011

    • 12:29 am

    Ali I think I like to copy you. You were the one who gave me the idea to keep a list while writing the first draft. Seriously changed my first draft writing process in a good way!

    Rachel and Krista, I don’t get you but I admire you. 🙂

    HowLynn- I can imagine that historical writing requires a meticulous person. I appreciate that you fact check so thoroughly!

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