Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Revision: Step Nine

Okay. Deep breath.

Today I start reading the book. Up until now, I've been pretty confident as I work my way through these revision steps, but from here on out it gets mad murky, yo. I don't know if this is too soon for me to be reading and I should be waiting a few months for it to get colder. I don't know how long it's going to take me. I don't know how extensive the notes will be. I don't know exactly where I'm going to work or exactly what my process will be. That's a lot to not know about something I'm starting in half an hour, and it's making me anxious.

Here's what I do have:

1) A printed copy of the MS. I decided not to hole-punch and bind it this time, because in the past I've found that a cumbersome way to work. Instead, I've stapled each chapter and stuffed the whole thing back into the plastic bag from the copy shop.

2) 30+ pages of notes, including the "to add" list I made as I wrote, exercises, research notes, and a new and improved timeline.

3) Colored pens, sticky note tabs, highlighters, a notebook, and a clipboard.

4) A vaguely-articulated idea that I shouldn't be reading the book in the same places I wrote it. In order to see it fresh, the argument goes, change as much as you can. If you wrote the book on a screen, read it on paper. Change the font and the margins. Read it in different physical locations than where you wrote it. I wrote Mender probably 80% in the quiet reading room of the library, 15% on my living room couch, and 5% in the back seat of my car in the parking lot of The Son's school. I'm going to try reading in several places this week, but for today it's gonna have to be the library because I'm tutoring there later and I don't feel like scampering around town. I'll try sitting at a table, which I almost never do to write. (For some weird reason, I can't write fiction if my feet are touching the ground. True story.)

5) A tentative revision approach, open to much revision of its own if it hinders more than it helps. The sequence:

a) Read the chapter. Okay to make quick corrections of typos or whatever, but restrain from making extensive notes. Try to just read it.

b) Jot down my overall impressions. Anything not working? Do I need more or less description? Are the characters coming off the way I want? Make notes on the MS of where to add/delete or tweak.

c) Review my notes-- what from the list can be addressed in this chapter? Make notes showing where to add.

d) Rinse and repeat 35 more times.

Wish me luck! I've allotted myself 15 days for this step, but who the heck knows.

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