So, something interesting happened this past weekend–
ME: I don’t feel like revising my thesis.
QUITA: Me neither.
ME: (thinks) Hey–I never read my NaNo WIP from last year.
QUITA: Hmm, me neither.
ME: Want to do that?
QUITA: (shrugs) Whatever.
And so that’s what we did. To read about me and Quita’s NaNo 2010 novels, you can click here. Or, if you’re lazy like me, I’ll save you the extra click–I wrote about fairies, and she wrote about genies. You see, we wanted to write outside of our comfort zones, so we both decided to write supernatural YA stories. And you know what we found out?
They weren’t THAT awful.
Of course, they’re by no means perfect either. It’s just that while we were writing them, we both whined about getting words on that paper. We both declared that they had to be the worst things that we’ve written. Ever. But as I read through my first draft, I found myself laughing at parts that were meant to be funny. I found myself flipping the page to see what will happen next.
So what does that mean?
Just what pretty much everyone else has confirmed. Time away from your WIPs is absolutely crucial. You need to be able to see your writing with a fresh pair of eyes. My first step in revising is: Read your story for personal enjoyment. Pretend that this is a story that you’ve chosen from a bookshelf, sit back, and just read it like you’re a fan.
Now what? Well, I do what I do before I review any other book. I look at what works and what doesn’t work. I think about the characters: do they sound the same? Are they all needed? What are their motivations? I consider the plot and whether or not the story builds to a worthy climax, and if it results in a satisfactory ending.
So yeah, I think Quita and I both plan on revising these babies now. And I can’t speak for Quita, but this revision might just be for me. I won’t worry about submissions and whether or not there’s room in the marketplace for my little fairy story. And sometimes, when you’re writing just for fun, the work really shines through.
What about you all? Have you fallen in love with a project again that you haven’t read in forever?