How to Avoid Revision Hell

Spring Wordbees 1

Spring is almost here. Seriously, it’s supposed to be almost here. I’m writing this while wearing fingerless gloves and a shawl over my hoodie, and I’m practically sitting on an electric room heater. It’s -20 deg Celsius outside (without windchill) and my basement office tends to reflect those temperatures.

Springtime for most people is either about renewal of life or spring cleaning. I propose for us writers it should be about both. Renewing the life in your WIP and cleaning it up. What does this mean to me? You guessed it… Revision! Everyone’s favourite. Not.

At the moment I’m working on a shiny new project that I love and that I plan to Indie pub in the fall. (Yup, I’m gonna make that leap and I’ll drag you guys along with me.) I’m also working on revising a YA novel that’s dragging on forever. I always seem to be able to finish my first draft in a decent time, but the revising and rewriting kill me. It takes forever! I am truly in Revision Hell and I don’t know where the emergency exits are.

I’m a big proponent of writing a fast, hot, messy first draft and then polishing later. Or at least I have been until now. I still believe in writing fast and hot (no second guessing!) but messy is something that I don’t want to be anymore. If you write fast and hot then there will be days (weeks?) when you write utter crap. It’s unavoidable.  Or is it?

If you haven’t read Rachel Aaron’s blog post on how she went from Writing 2000 words/day to 10 000 then you must check it out. (Mind boggling word counts, eh?) But even if you’ve only got thirty minutes a day to write and you struggle to eek out 200 words, this post and her methods can help you. They’re helping me.

She details three things that you must have in order to achieve maximum word count. Knowledge, Enthusiam and Time. I’m going to talk about just one aspect today. Knowledge. This means knowing what you’re going to write before you start typing.

Having knowledge of the scene you’re going to write means writing longhand what the scene entails BEFORE YOU START WORD COUNT FOR THE DAY. And not the single sentence that we all use when we’re plotting, but exploring the ins and outs of the scene. Detail what’s going to happen step by step. Not only does this let the words flow faster when you’re writing because you know exactly what you’re doing, but it will also show you possible dead ends, it will let you explore those character conversations that you think might be a good idea but turn out to be shit, it will save you time later when it comes to… REVISION and REWRITING.

At least that’s what I’m hoping. I’m scheduled to be finished my new story at the end of the month. I’m hoping by using Rachel’s methods I won’t be stuck in Revision Hell with this story. It doesn’t mean I won’t revise, just that I’ll only be visiting hell and not occupying my permanent cell there.

So have you heard of her method’s? What do you think of them? What do you do to avoid Revision Hell?

About Trish Loye

Trish is a wannabe astronaut disguised as a stay-at-home mom who drinks too much tea and tries to stay sane by writing down the crazy stories in her head.
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4 Responses to How to Avoid Revision Hell

  1. susielindau says:

    Great advice and it makes sense!

    • Trish Loye Elliott says:

      Thanks, though Rachel Aaron really deserves the credit. Intuitive advice and yet something I’d never done before. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Emma says:

    Minus 20 – yikes. We really don’t know what cold is over here.
    Good luck with the revisions, Trish. Heading over now to check out Rachel’s post.

    • Trish Loye Elliott says:

      At least we have blue skies. Very deceptive blue skies where the sun does nothing to warm you, but they’re pretty to look at.
      Hope Rachel’s advice resonates with you!

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