For every amazing book writing moment I had while ‘penning’ my first novel, I have had five fits of frustration while I am in the revisions stage. Writing the novel was exciting, fun and fast. Revising is slow and deliberate and lacks the romance of simply telling a story.
Let’s back up and start with the most fun bits. I wrote my novel in two and a half months. I am proud of this mostly because it took me a decade to dedicate myself to the process. I have been telling my friends and family for years that I want to be a successful writing recluse, writing from remote locations all over the world. Everyone always laughs but I never joke about my dreams. The problem was that I was only dreaming. Dreaming big and hoping. I had a few false novel starts after college and after my last attempt I walked away feeling slightly defeated. I was not sure I would be able to tell the stories I so desperately wanted to share with the world. I decided to focus on another degree, moving to England and traveling around Europe, experiencing a lot more of the world and of life. Once I was back in the States I focused on continuing to build my compensation career in Corporate America.
After two years of dedicating myself to my profession, I finally got the itch. Ideas for stories were regularly swirling around in my head. Just bits and pieces of a character or a storyline and I was excited. My mind was yearning to create but I was not ready to commit to compiling these ideas and ironing out the details. One morning I was telling a friend how invigorated I had become for writing again but I was not sure where to start. He made a simple statement that I needed to be around other writers, people focusing on the same goals as me, telling stories. Within a few months I found myself at two writer’s workshops which fed my writing muscle, and I began dedicating time to my ideas. Within a year I had met some amazing people, written a detailed outline, and started my novel. Just two and half months after I started I was emerging from my dining room table with 78,000 words of pure genius. It was surreal and I was slightly proud of myself.
Ok, so maybe it is not pure genius. In fact, the first draft of this novel needs a lot of attention. It has a beginning, middle, and end, but there is so much I need to do to make it the work of art I envisioned. I still have research, character clean up, some complete revising of scenes, and a total rework of Sabine’s father’s letter. This my friends is revising. The cousin to true editing and she is no joke. She requires more of my time, more of my mind, and less of my romance. To be clear, editing will be done by a professional (which will mean a lot more work for me). To me revising is all about making the story its best and most interesting in draft form. An editor’s job is to rip all of that work a part and make it a masterpiece.
I am only five chapters into revising my novel and there are 28 chapters in the first draft. I can only imagine what the second draft will be, but I am excited to see where refining my work will lead.
To all of my wonderful friends and family members excited to read my manuscript… patience please. I promise it will be worth the wait.