Revisions, Mapping the Rewrites

Last week I finally started diving into the revisions for MS:TS. I’ve been dancing around this manuscript for the past few weeks, trying to figure out my way in, and after being sidelined with a cold for a week, I knew it was time to stop hesitating and start working.

I realized after I sat down at my computer, notes and notebooks at the ready, that I finally recognized the familiar but unnamed hesitation I’d been feeling so heavily. It’s that same hesitation that comes anytime I’m about to dive into a project where I’m pulling apart work I put so much time and effort into. It’s that gut reaction that I don’t want to tear apart the work I did or delete the words I fought so hard to get on the page, even when I know that is what is best for the story. In fact it’s the only way to get the story to the next best version of itself, which is why revisions are the magic that make stories better. Once I’d recognized that emotion, I gave myself some time to feel the feelings, to thank my past writer-self for putting in all the work to get us here now, and then gently but firmly took the manuscript and began tearing it apart. Once I started, the hesitations feel away from me and I slipped into familiarity of being in the editor’s seat again. I was able to slip into that place where I can look at my manuscript as something almost not my own, in order to tear the story apart the way it needs to be. I started to feel that excitement of creating draft two and was even more excited to recognize that slipping into that seat and mindset was easier than it has ever been, which was a great reminder of how much I’ve grown in this journey.

I spent a lot of time last week planning where the major cuts in my writing need to happen in order to slice out what I’m keeping of draft one as I move into draft two. I am using Plottr to plan out what this next chapter will look like and then when I’ve figured out what has to go where and what needs to be cut, I’ll move into my Scrivener doc and start actually moving and deleting words. Taking my time in the moving and mapping of the story, and pulling apart the motivations and arcs of my characters, gave me so much more insight into who these characters are. Figuring out the music of the soundtrack unlocked a level of knowing I hadn’t had before, and adding that knowledge of them into the reworking of their first steps on the page, unlocked a whole other level of knowing. The story is going to begin at a different place in this second draft and we are going to see the way their lives were before for a few more beats. Those moments and scenes deepen the connection to the characters, to who they are, what they become, and why what they go through cuts so deep. This is true especially of my first narrator, because I understand what her core is in a way that makes what she goes through for her sister that much more heartbreaking. Understanding my second narrator, the sister, the way I do now also deepens my understanding of the choices she makes, and thinking about how it is all going to come together in the end is just devastating in all the best, gut-wrenching storyteller ways. 🙂 I cannot wait to continue working the story map, adding the beats and scenes, and working toward that next draft of the story.

In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough.

With you in words, Nikole

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