I've spent the last two-and-a-half month's, several hours each day, cutting and polishing The Rowaness of Shalott.
Have you ever stared at a computer screen for so long that your eyes start crossing? I have and, let me tell you, it's a little bit freaky!
What I learned from this mega revision:
- I may have thought my beginning was brilliant, but I didn't really understand how well it worked (and that it needed lots of fixing) until I wrote the end of my novel.
- I may have thought my ending was brilliant, but I didn't really understand how well it worked (and that it needed lots of fixing) until I finished this long revision.
- The best way I learned what was and wasn't working in my book was to read it. (Duh, I know, but I'm talking about reading--and not editing--it in as little sittings as possible. For me, that was four days.)
- MCs get sassier with more attention. Villains become more sympathetic.
- It is possible to love two fictional men at the same time (okay, I already knew this).
- My characters can still surprise me (yes, Arthur, I'm talking about you).
- I still believe in and love this story--more so than ever!
Some stats about my drafting and revision process so far:
- Started writing the first version (contemporary, two POVs, set in Alaska, no Arthurian stuff) in December of 2009
- Bagged the earlier version and started writing the Arthurian version in the summer of 2010
- Finished my first draft in November of 2011 (two-thirds of it were written in Oct. and Nov.)
- Finished this mega revision YESTERDAY (April 24, 2012)!
- Original word count: 141,320 (not to mention 4,000 words I cut before drafting the last two-thirds)
- Revised word count: 98,972
- I cut 42,348 words! (almost as long as a NaNo novel)
- Original page count: 490
- Revised page count: 362
- I cut 128 pages! (That might not seem like a lot, but it SO is.)
Anyway you do the math, I feel awesome! And I've totally owned my writing process, which is overwriting to draft, and then cutting to revise (though, I did have to rewrite sections of the beginning and end).
I know there will still be revisions to come with new beta readers, and hopefully one day an agent and editor, but for now I will breathe a big fat sigh of relief because I did one of the hardest things by hacking this book to below 100k.