I'm in the midst of a set of revisions before sending the novel off to beta readers, and every time I revise, it surprises me just how much time it takes. Really, it shouldn't be surprising. At this point in the game, it's all about cutting out the things that just don't add to the story, and making sure every single last word counts... and that can take a boat load of thinking and time.
That said, it still amazes me what this novel has become. A bit of background: I wrote a draft of Through Charlotte's Eyes in grad school... officially four years now. But the draft was just... okay. Something was missing, some verve, some tension, and so I took a break for a couple years, worked on some other writing pursuits, started my freelance career, tried some new things, got engaged, changed jobs, got married.
Early last year, through the madness that is life, I dove back in. I rewrote my outline, cut it into pieces, and rearranged it again. I deleted entire scenes, entire diary entries, added characters, added more historical context (as long as it pertained to the story)...
When I finished my latest draft just days before the end of 2011, I breathed a big sigh of relief. I finally felt closer to the finish line. But really, in the scheme of things, it's just one step closer. The novel now tells the story I once couldn't grasp. There's something there, a story that I can't wait to share.
But, for now, I'm still trimming words. Staring at the computer screen, asking myself, is this the best way to show this? I like this stage in the process, even if it is a lot of work. And with each revision, each time I highlight a word, hit delete and make a better choice, I'm one step closer.
And what do I keep in mind through this writing process? A quote, because, if you know me, you know I love inspirational quotes.
So, for everyone in the throes of writing and/or revision, just remember:
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."