Thursday, June 21, 2007

Revision process

Or, how many words can you rewrite per day?

First, an apology. The last month I have been busy finishing my second draft of my first book. (Is it a novel? Maybe.) And, once the second draft was finished the last thing I wanted to do was write about my writing here on this blog, hence the month absence. (I am keeping a diary of my writing 'progress' on paper, actually. It may well even make it into my book. We shall see.)

Anyway, I now have time to add some thoughts about writing, specifically the process of revising, rewriting, reworking.

Initially, I read the whole book after a few weeks away and took some notes. I noted what I liked, what I didn't like, and what needed to be added and what needed to be moved. There were highs and lows in this process, but I'm still here so ultimately I believe in what I'm trying to write.

Sotoday I have started to re-work, revise, polish, hone. (At least I hope I have started to do that.) Surprisingly, or maybe it's no surprise, I'm taking much longer to revise my words than I thought I would. I thought I could easily rework 5 to 10 pages per day, but today I have just managed 2 pages. The thing is, I'm not trying to do a Martin Amis here, and be oh-so-precious with my words. My language is simple and there are absolutely no darlings to be murdered! But still, it's hard going. 2 Pages is a bit pathetic.

I can see that I will need a different mental attitude to the one I had whilst writing down my words in the first place. Much, much more concentration is required. This is interesting, to me, and I guess part of the learning-to-write process. I will adjust my mental attitude accordingly, and quickly.

So, anyway, it got me thinking about word-count; i.e. how many words per day was good, in terms of revising. I like setting myself targets but I have no idea, right now, that's for sure.

My estimate of my book being finished by end of October has now been revised, however, to end of December (if I'm lucky!)