NaNoWriMo 2019 is done. It was a rough month, but I finished with a complete first draft of a novel that I am very excited to go back and revise. The sisters in this novel, the complex relationship that they have, and the individual journeys that they go on were quite a thing to render on paper. It was trickiest to meander the paths of how my main character lived and moved throughout the story when so much of what affected her and changed her trajectory, was because of her sister. I’m curious to see how well I executed the change in their relationship from the first to second to third acts of the story when I go back to revise.
That is the work that comes next. I’m going to spend the next six months revising my manuscripts. Currently, I have four and 3/4 complete manuscripts. The 3/4 complete manuscript is the one that I set aside in a drawer earlier this year (Letting a Story Go) that is rattling around, begging my attention. Each of the stories have their own needs. The 3/4 complete one requires intense work to complete the story and revise what’s currently there at the same time. The manuscript I’m currently querying needs a good read through with a polish to the transitions in its current state. The three stories in between those all require extensive revisions from start to finish. Before I can begin the revisions to any one of those stories, I need to skim the current version of it, take stock of what’s happened so far, figure out what I want to add in that hasn’t happened yet, decide what pieces need to be cut and/or moved around to a different place in the story, etc.
To get ready for all of this work, I went though my filing cabinet and reorganized the notes I have on each story, to wrangle them all into one place. I also cleared off my plot board walls and my notes from previous stories. I wrote my goals on a clean piece of paper and put them in the center of the board. Those are the words that I’m going to look to when the work gets so tough, I’ll doubt my ability to get the job done. They’ll be there when I get so twisted and turned around in my own stories that I can’t find the way out. They’ll help me to celebrate the success of a finished revision and motivate me to begin anew.
What do you do to prepare yourself for revisions? What do you do to move from one project to the next? What’s a motivational tool, piece of advice, quote, etc. that inspires you?