|Photo credit: Wrote on Flickr|
With the exception of authors who write astoundingly clean first drafts (these are a minority), the heavy lifting really comes after the first draft has been written. This is the time when you look over your work and make difficult decisions. This is the time when you have to be brutally honest with yourself about what needs fixing, what can be salvaged and what must be stripped out. This is the time when characters are cut, subplots are emphasized (or removed altogether), scenes are added and cringe-worthy dialogue/chapters/paragraphs/sections get the axe.
And let’s be honest—sometimes it’s a little scary.
By the time you reach the revision stage, you’ve already spent a lot of time on your book. You’ve already laughed, and cried, and exhausted yourself in the process of writing a novel, and now you have to throw some of that work away. Now you have to write more, and make changes that sometimes mean altering huge sections of your WIP, and the thought of the sheer amount of work ahead can be more than a little nerve-wracking.
The thing that you have to remember when facing revisions is that it’s worth it. The extra work, the painful cuts and the extra weeks or months spent taking your work from first to finished draft is worth the work and heartache—and more than that, it can even be a little exciting. There’s something special about molding your original draft into something better, into a draft that really does your story justice. And yes, sometimes in order to reach that stage you have to make enormous changes, but your novel will be so much better for it.
So when the time comes for you to start those revisions, make a copy of your WIP (so you always have an original to go back to if needed) and start hacking. When you come out the other side with a shiny new draft in your hands, you’ll be glad you did.
Have you ever made huge changes to a WIP? How did you feel before and after the revisions?