Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revising: It's Like Writing, Except Not

I don't hate revisions, but sometimes it feels like I'm not getting anything done. Many writers have progress meters that tell them when they're hitting their word counts. When I'm working on revisions, I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything. I don't have the certified, "look what I've created!" feeling that comes when I write a story or book and step back to see, "I've written 2,000 words today."

On the other hand, I AM making progress. I, Crimsonstreak is a goofy superhero novel I wrote years ago. This was long before I knew anything about writing or publishing (or, worse yet, before before I thought I knew anything about writing or publishing). Needless to say, the book needs a lot of polish. Even after this revision is "finished," I'll still have to go back and work on it. That's the nature of writing; it constantly shifts--"finished" is a pipe dream. The first few drafts of the book came in at 60,000 words. Over the last week or so, the main adventure now has more than 68,000 words. That means I HAVE been writing, it just feels like I'm not creating anything NEW, even though I am.

My goal is to get I, Crimsonstreak up to 70,000 words (I'm soooooo close to meeting that goal). Even then, it won't be finished.

The book has about 25,000 words of non-story meta-fiction. This material includes character files, newspaper articles, journal entries, and other background information that required a fairly exhaustive timeline. Once I get through the "novel" part of the book, it's onto the meta-fiction, which needs to be indexed, rearranged, and divided into thematic appendices.

It's all very necessary, of course...but revisions make me feel like I'm running in quicksand; my feet are churning, but I'm not going anywhere...and it's very possible I'm sinking.

Do you ever feel that way?