This is the look of my manuscript in revisions.
You may know: I love revisions. This is the part of writing my brain can really cuddle up to. The safe part? In Not For Robots I have this bushwhacking metaphor: writing first drafts with a machete; unexplored jungle! Dangers! Beasties! Excitement! Extending that metaphor, revisions are like building a snug cottage in that jungle and setting out tea saucers of little biscuits for the monkeys. All civilized, like.
Well. You know. No exactly like that. But kinda.
So. Here in a nutshell is my revision process. First thing I did was read and internalize my editor's letter, make notes on the main areas of work she proposed, and then set about reading my (hard copy) manuscript over with those things in mind. I marked it up liberally, and then, once that was done, I took it to the computer and input any "easy" changes, those things that can be fixed right there locally, within a line or two. The bigger things, ideas, themes, I asterisked and post-it'ed for later. Later being now.
The REAL work of revisions. Not the line edits, but the reconstruction, the deepening of significance, tightening of threads, clarifying of characterization, all that. So I've got this fat old book bristling with post-its of how to make it better, and I have to winnow down those post-its, one by one, until they're all gone. Winnow winnow. Once they're all gone, then I'll read the whole thing fresh for flow and to catch anything I might have missed, and to futz happily with language until I run out of time, then I'll send it on in to my lovely editor and see what she thinks.
After that? Another pass. And then? Copy edits. And then?
Whew. On it goes until the very sight of one's own book triggers the gag reflex. It's sad, but by the time the book is in print, the author has read it to death and probably won't be able to enjoy it again for like twenty years. But that does not mean that holding it in its actual bookness is not the hugest thrill ever, because it IS. Just please don't make us read it again! Ha ha.
Anyway. In revisions, you should have a clear picture of what it was you were trying to do with the book (a thing you might not entirely know until you've finished that first draft). And then hopefully you can read your manuscript with some objectivity and get a clear picture of what you have actually accomplished. So. What needs to be done to bring the actual up to the ideal? That's what revisions are about. Perfecting. Realizing the promise of your idea.
Gotta go now. Post-its beckon!
Do you love revisions? Not love? Tell me!