Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anita's Attic: Hitting a Revision Wall

I’m working on book three in my secret warrior series and I keep hitting a wall. I feel like I’m looking at the same page over and over. I am looking at the same page over and over. It’s driving me nuts. I finally hit a breakthrough. I brainstormed with my CP and decided to start the scene in a different place. I thought about one aspect of it, the vampire’s mansion, looked up some pictures online, and it really smashed though that blocked wall. Now I’ve hit another wall. I’m struggling to get it all on the page, and I think it's because I'm trying to include parts from an older version. I have 18 pages of good stuff that I want in, but I suspect I’m spending more time trying to find the right paragraph and fit it where I want it to go than if I just wrote the entire scene fresh.

I faced this with the second book in the series. Originally it was a romantic suspense I’d written earlier, but I realized it had all the ingredients I needed for one of my warrior series stories. I just had to change some things, but the skeleton was there. I’m still not sure whether this was a smart idea. I think it took me longer to revise the manuscript than if I’d just written something new from scratch. I had to add in the paranormal elements and change scenes, add new plot threads and work in all my secondary returning characters.

Another part of my problem is I edit as I go. Not final editing, but I can’t completely turn off my editor and just let the creative side go, as many writers do. In my case, that may be a good thing, since I have more trouble going back and “fixing” things.

Do you have trouble revising scenes? Is it easier to just start fresh? I’m open to tips.


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Once something is already written, I have the hardest time trying to change it into something else. It's definitely easier for me to just write something new.

And brainstorming always helps me to break through a block.

Good luck to you!

Liz Lipperman said...

Like you, I can't turn off the internal editor. I've decided it isn't a bad thing like some people who are very prolific say. Crap can be turned into something brilliant, they preach. I just can't "puke " out the words like some people. Good for them that they can, but it's not me.

I will say this... when I am through with a manuscript, my editing is minimal because I have spent so much time with each chapter.

As for rewritting a plot to fit another book, I have never done this, so I can't help. I'm optimistic enough to think everything I write will sell just as it is....OMG! Anyone who knows me knows what a bold-faced lie that is.

Sign me .... Insecure Lizabeth!

Donna Cummings said...

Anita, I sympathize. I hate to throw out something I've written if I think I can make it fit somehow. But you're right. It's probably easier to just start over with a scene rather than trying to make it work somehow.

But call me stubborn. LOL Because I am. Even when it isn't in my best interest. LOL

Lindsay said...

I agree with you Kari, it's easier to throw the scene out and write a new one.
Good luck. Know you can fix the problem.

Anita Clenney said...

Kari, I'm glad to know it isn't just me. Brainstorming really does help. And I think you mentioned on one of your blogs, changing the location of where you write can put you in a different mindset and help look at the story from a different perspective.

Anita Clenney said...

Liz, I have a hard time with that too. If the writing isn't flowing and I sit down and write just anything, I would spend so much time looking back over the words and trying to sort through it that it would derail me.

Anita Clenney said...

Donna, I'm stubborn too. I hate to throw things out, words or otherwise. I'm a packrat. I keep the words I cut, but trying to figure which ones to cut can make me insane.

Anita Clenney said...

Lindsay, I think it is easier. Part of my problem is I can be indecisive, so in writing that gets me in trouble.

Lindsay said...

I guess being indecisive can be a problem. Just remember they are only words. Maybe cut/paste into a new file and after you rewrite the new scene see which is better.
And you're not the only one who's indecisive. I've got a short story that has to much resolution at the end and needs major rewrites. I want to delete the thing but my CP wants me to keep it. I've got no idea what to do.

Anita Clenney said...

Lindsay, I tend to have a definite opinion on something or no opinion at all, and that just drives me crazy. It helps me if I can step back and look at the story in a different light. Sometimes I'll play "what if" with the story and throw out something entirely different with the plot or the characters. What if this was set in someplace else? What if the characters had never met instead of growing up together? That sort of thing. Sometimes it can really help. For the third book, I broke through my wall when I started the story in a different character's POV. It totally make a difference. Felt like a different story.