Dreaded Revision Not So Dreadful

After two writing weeks on the Six Month Novel Programme, I am six chapters and over 30,000 words into the new draft, which is way more than I anticipated.

The outline has changed multiple times, I’ve discovered major issues with the order of events, my favourite character has disappeared from the story altogether, and I’ve tied myself up in knots over making sure all the most important plot points are covered early on.

But, overall, I feel pretty good about what I’ve got so far, even though my plan for how to go about it went out the window after the first scene.

My original intention was to do a blank page re-write, without referring to the original draft.  Now, the reason for doing this was because I have a lot of new material to incorporate and I had no idea how to insert this into what I already had, without getting in a mess and potentially screwing it up completely.

However, by putting together a detailed outline over the last month, I can easily see how existing scenes fit into the new structure, where the new information needs to be added, and what of the original can potentially be kept in the new draft.  So, instead of opening a new document and just writing the whole thing again, I’ve actually been cutting and pasting bits of the old draft into what I’m doing now, and then editing them as required.

It sort of feels like cheating, but then why duplicate effort unnecessarily?  I’m not simply shoving them in wholesale, with no thought as to how it all fits together.  I’ve had to do quite a lot of revision to meet the new POV structure, and I’ve been editing as I go, to address some of the stylistic issues that came up from previous feedback.

I was worried that just re-writing everything might be boring, and that it might lead to be skipping over important scenes, or missing out vital moments altogether, so I’m avoiding that, and making more progress more quickly than I thought possible.  However I approach this draft, I’m going to need to go through it all multiple more times in the revision stages, so I don’t think it’s too much of a problem using old material at this point.  I have good writer friends lined up as fresh eyes to give me feedback once I complete this new draft, and that’s when I can really work on the stylistic stuff.

I hope I’m not just finding arguments to justify being lazy.  I don’t think I am.  The purpose of this new draft is to get all the exciting new action into the existing story, and it feels like I’m succeeding with that so far.  Things will inevitably get tougher as I get further through the story, as I’ll need to create more and more new material, so my method in these early days feels like a good way to get back into the novel and comfortable with working to an ambitious schedule.

Regardless, I have over 30,000 words, and they feel like good words.  So, why question it?

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