I heard once, I think from Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, that ten percent will be cut from a first draft during revision. And baby, I believe it. I’ve been going through Unlikely, which I will probably re-title to something along the lines of To the Edge of the World. I decided to keep an intermediary draft in which I’ll keep track of all my changes. I’m just highlighting the text in different colors: red for something I’m going to cut, blue for something I’ve added, and orange for things that will need to be altered story-wise once I’ve gone through this revision. There is a lot of red, a fair amount of orange, and some new blue text. The new stuff is difficult right now because I’m not focused on it yet. I’ll want to get rid of and alter everything I can before I can think about adding words before I even know if they’ll fit yet.
I’m glad to see so much red. Convoluted sentences and wandering paragraphs are getting the attention they need to keep the story clear. When I start my next revision, it will be with a sleek structural foundation ready to be built back up into the full tale. It’s taking a little more work than I thought it would, but that’s okay. I’m up for it, which is a good thing because I hope for this to be my career one day. I find revision enjoyable and challenging, and I am ever proud of myself for getting past the fun writing stage and then rolling up my sleeves to go back in. Even though I may never go back and look at the old drafts to see how much I’ve changed, I’m glad for this experiment to see how much I’ve changed as a writer since 2008.
Things are all falling into place, thanks to my notes and a few songs I’ve rediscovered. When I’m thinking about a story, it’s in my head all the time, and songs will all somehow have perfect applications to characters and events. Listening to the songs helps me focus and visualize, and some of my favorite ideas have come from an image that flashes in my mind. I’ve come to understand my characters better though each stage of writing and revision, and the world is becoming more clear as well. I have an entire event to add thanks to these new developments. I’m almost halfway through this revision, and I hope to pick up the pace, now that I understand how far I have to go.