When you pull one thread...

I am deep into Revision Land on my second novel. For the past week and a half I have been obsessing over two details in my novel. Two details, which seem to be very important to the reader, more important than I intended them. Of course my first impulse was, okay, I'll take those two details out! Then a moment later, my brain kicked in and reminded me that I had nothing to be afraid of, and I could make the changes work. And so I started, and each time I shifted one detail, something else changed, and then I had to address that, and then the next thing, and like a house of cards, if you move one....they all fall. And then you have to rebuild.

So that is what I have been doing, rebuilding, and re-ordering and revising, and it is making my head hurt. I have now done 4 different openings to my book. And I love the opening! But it has to be done. I actually strongly believe in revising. I think it is necessary. But I also think that one must have a plan, no point in just changing things for the sake of changing, but change in order to sharpen and strengthen the writing is a great idea. And it isn't easy. Having people whose opinions you respect and trust are essential, because after living with a novel for 2-3 years, to pull it apart again for closer inspection is a difficult thing to do. I have to see my work as someone else's, I need to look at it with fresh eyes, and I need to be critical and merciless.

I have a dear writer friend who re-wrote her last book 7 times. And another who rewrote his, 13 times. Whenever I get frustrated, I just think of that. And I remind myself that months of revising will still not be as hard as those initial years of writing. I hope.

Back at it!

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