Sometimes I love revising a manuscript--other times I'd rather have a root canal. On that revision continuum, right now I'm closer to the dentist's chair than I'd like to be. It's at times like this that I'm reminded that as much as I love writing, it's hard work. (But, if it weren't then everybody'd be doing it and where would I be then, right?)
I'm a little over halfway into my MS. And I'm loving it. I'm trying things I haven't attempted before, and by all accounts, it's working. Yes, I need to flesh out some things, but I've figured out how that's going to happen. The characters are becoming richer every time I sit down with them.
So where's the problem? I've gotten perhaps too attached to some of my prose. As my first creative writing teacher (27 years ago!) pointed out to all of us when she handed back our first stories to revise--we should examine the word "revision" and truly see it as a RE-VISION. Taking a new look. Seeing it with fresh eyes. A new perspective. She didn't want us to just polish things but to perhaps explore a new approach. And it might require us to discard (horrors!) some of the words we'd carefully crafted. We might have to toss out (eek!) whole paragraphs.
That's where I am this week. I realized that one of my narrators, Kate, wasn't dumped six years ago by her fiance, but he died in a plane crash. Now, that's not going to be a big portion of the actual MS, but it explains so much of why she's the way she is now. I need to work in enough of that backstory so it works for the reader. And for Kate. And that requires lots of re-vision. Some of her flippancy needs to be toned down, other conversations need to be completely revamped. It's work. Satisfying work, yes, but also hard. Frustrating at times. And when I highlight whole sections and go to EDIT and then click on CUT, a little part of me gasps to consider what has just disappeared. But I know, that later this week, or next, or maybe even next month, I'll look at it and the changes will be seamless and I'll wonder how I ever could have seen it any other way . . . unless of course my vision shifts again.