Over the weekend, a good friend from college visited us with his cousin. I haven't seen this friend in a year and a half; he moved to Michigan 2 years ago for grad school and has only made it down to visit twice. We first met in Japanese 1101, where I sat behind him; we then discovered that we lived about a quarter-mile apart on the same road, and we took the same bus to campus every day. He bailed on that professor for the second semester of JPNS, but we met again in the third semester; later that year, I got a job at Borders, where he'd been working for some time, and we worked together there until graduation, marriage, and moving into adulthood.
He's also a writer, and he was the first friend I had with whom I felt comfortable talking about my writing. At the time we met, he'd already finished 2 novels and was slogging through ideas for his third (which is now in re-writes).
This time that we meet, we're on equal footing: two finished novels, slogging through revisions. There's a sense of camaraderie in that, and also a sense of shared desperation.
How is it that writing a novel "isn't that bad," but the prospect of a massive revision--oh God, it's crushing? As Lola calls it, Revision Hell.
I'm planning on diving into Revision Hell today. I'm feeling quite overwhelmed, as there's a lot that I need to do, and I'm not quite sure where to start.
In this month's issue of The Writer magazine, there's a short article called "What's at stake?" in which the author recounts a meeting with an agent who just couldn't understand what was at stake in her novel. He explained patiently--pulling down books he'd agented to prove his point--that on each page and in each paragraph, the reader must be aware of what's at stake for every character.
'Every character?' I repeated. 'Not just the protagonist?'
'Every character,' he said.
So she wrote "what's at stake?" on a post-it note and planted it in full view on her computer monitor.
I'm thinking this is good advice, and I have my yellow post-it all ready to go...
Any tips for a revisions n00b?