Revising a short story or article can be stressful, while revising your novel can quickly turn into a horror story, complete with acute mental torture, and shrill screams of heartfelt pain. Fortunately, most of the awful vexations you encounter during your novel revision trail beautiful silver-linings, ones which often benefit you long after your revision is complete.
Here’s a quick look at five of the most common revision annoyances and their silver-linings.
The Same Errors Keep Rolling Around.
You often misspell the same words all over again. Then too, there’s those homonyms which creep in when typing in ‘patches’ and new scenes. You could have sworn you’ve already corrected those missing periods and speech-marks, and now you’re almost certain your computer is eating them for breakfast.
Your brain is just wired this way (and your computer could well have a high metabolism). Hypnosis may well fix it (along with a computer tune-up), but what will you lose in creativity?
The silver lining: You learn your ‘writing tendencies’ which will be quite useful for the next proofread, and you learn to save backup copies of your cleanest copy.
A Dithering Scene Vacillates Between Chapters.
There’s always that one critical scene which can fit in either in Chapter Two or Three or Six. It’s vital but where, exactly, would be the best place for it?
In chapter Two, it provides motivation for the protagonist, but slows down the pace just a tad too much. In Chapter Three, it contrasts with another character’s motivations, highlighting their differences and lends emotional depth, but places emphasis on the wrong plot point. In Chapter Six, this information is now urgent, and a major ‘patch’ is needed to set it seamlessly in…
The silver lining: You learn to write patches to integrate old and new scenes or plug in plot-holes. You learn how to ask for useful feedback from a good beta-reader. You get to seriously contemplate the rhythm of you chapters and sections.
Evocative Descriptions And Hard Facts Turn Into Concrete Shoes
Your heart breaks when you realise your wonderfully worded descriptions and hard-won research is bogging the pace down. Your plot points are sinking too far into insignificance, and your word count is still a little too high for a single book.
The silver lining: You now have something to post on your blog or a new article for your newsletter. These passages will work magic with a photo or illustration. New readers will get to know your writing style, while old readers will appreciate the exclusive content rewarding them for their loyalty.
Non-fiction, well presented, could also bring in other benefits such as guest posts and writing commissions.
Your Grammar Boy or Girl Winks At Unholy Players
Researching a grammar point reveals the rules of grammar are changing faster than a short step into quicksand.
Even worse, grammar gurus seem intent on creating needless schisms, splitting the whole holy shrine like old-time church leaders; establishing cults for themselves, seducing Merriam Webster, Roget’s and (heaven forbid!) Oxford.
And the absolute worst? Your go-to Grammar Girl/Boy is eyeing other camps, and playing footsies with the very ones they swore would never gain ground with them!
How can any sane writer keep up?
The silver-lining: You learn something new everyday and may even start a new trend or go viral for your unique use of the exclamation mark and hyphen together.
Reading For Pleasure Turns Into A Nightmare!
No matter how prestigious and professional the editing on the copy, every sentence you now read by your favourite best-selling author is edited by your mind. Every now and again you catch yourself thinking, “But how did this ever get into print!” And, “Will I ever enjoy the simple bliss of reading a book for pleasure again?”
The Silver lining: You realise all writers, editors and proofreaders are fallible, even traditional multi-million dollar enterprises, so you aren’t doing too badly yourself.
And yes, you’ll will still joyously read novels once your internal editor goes on holiday.
The Ultimate Silver Lining:
Pat yourself on the back, if you don’t have someone to do it for you, as you can now take a good sentence and make it better. You can take a sagging plot and tighten it. You can ride your story’s pace like a professional show-jumper, and your voice can now be heard loud and clear.
Best of all, your revision is done, the next revision won’t be as arduous, and your wonderfully creative mind has survived to prosper!