KotSQ: Revision Update #1

It’s been almost three years since I finished a crap draft of a personal project. That one got ditched mid-revision because the “men are the absolute worst” was a little overpowering for a M/F romance… so much so that I realized I can’t write romance set in the “real” world anymore because I no longer believe that world is redeemable. In order to keep the full extent of my real-world cynicism off the page, I needed a different world, one where I don’t have to pretend insurmountable obstacles to a hopeful future don’t exist, one where I can write a history that creates surmountable obstacles so a hopeful future is achievable.

Surmountable obstacles for me include dragons, curses, undead bitey things, and evil murder mentors.

First step in the revision process was printing a hard copy to scribble on. I feel more of a visceral connection when I can pick up a pen and literally make my mark on the words.

250-page manuscript printed out, with 3.5-inch margin on the right to leave plenty of room for notes

I did the initial read-straight-through on Monday and didn’t hate it, which is always a good start. Heroine waffles between two plans in the third act because her writer was indecisive, but no other major structural problems jumped out at me, and that one’s fixable by finding a good place further back in the story to eliminate one of the options so Heroine can fully commit to the other course of action. Not a big deal, so I can skip an intensive comparison to the outline and possibly never look at that again. Two thumbs up for getting through Day One with no feelings of hopelessness!

Then I skimmed through the manuscript again and did four things: 1) numbered the scenes to make it easier to locate the one I need, 2) wrote a numbered scene-by-scene summary that will be the map for scene-by-scene revisions, 3) put the dates on the summary so I know where everything is on the timeline, and 4) highlighted the goal/reaction in each scene/sequel to pinpoint the target when working on the conflict/dilemma and disaster/decision (not that I’m a super-stickler for that method in the final product, but it helps detect do-nothing sections that need to either do something, move to a supporting role elsewhere, or get in the bin).

I finished that last night, and that’s it for the organizational stage. Up next:assembling the detailed to-do list.

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