Revise

Last weekend my editor got back to me with the suggested revisions for my novel. This is my seventh round of revisions, but they’re not nearly as extensive as the first few rounds. I can see the finish line.

One of the biggest issues to tackle was the ending. I went from having a lengthy, expository ending in an earlier draft to an abrupt ending that would have left readers feeling like they’d fallen off a cliff. Neither was very good.

I hate it when writers tie up every loose string at the end of their books, and so that was what I was trying to avoid with the last draft.

But my editor pointed out I can’t ignore those threads, either. I have to acknowledge them. Readers need to have an idea where characters stand. I’ve built up the tension and action so much that to then push the reader off a cliff and say “The End” is rather unsatisfying.

(There were lots of other issues, too, but I’ll spare you every detail).

What I’m now doing is echoing certain images from the earlier chapters, to bring it full circle. The whole novel starts on the north-east shore of Brightsand Lake, and I take readers back there in the last chapter. I’m also adding more dialogue/drama between the main characters (without overdoing it).

Last Sunday I set up my lawn chair near the spot where I imagined Darby finding her aunt’s body, re-read the first and last chapter, and started writing (and played fetch with my dog because Rufus loses his mind at the lake if you don’t pay some attention to him).

Then, this week, I pounded out a rewrite on the last chapter. I’m happy with it so far. It needs a little more work, but it’s much better.

I used to hate revising my creative writing because I basically just picked and picked at it until I couldn’t stand it (although there is value in doing this kind of editing at some point).

But now I often start with a blank page, think about what needs to be done, and write. After editing it a bit, I then insert the new writing into whatever section it belongs in. It’s much more fun and less frustrating than my old method.

Yes, I said it. Revising can be fun.