Two months ago I put down my manuscript. It was the same manuscript I had beat out daily for a ten-month period. Now I’m looking to pick it back up, and begin the revision process.
It may seem like far too long to be ‘away’ from the work of writing, but it is not uncommon for writers in any walk of life to voluntarily take (or unfortunately be forced to take) some time off from a major piece of work. And sometimes that ‘time off’ stretches for weeks and months.
Personally, the longer I spend away from my writing, the harder it seems to be to dive back in. I let my fears and doubts eat at me, and worst of all, I allow myself to become distanced from the story.
But today, I’m picking up my (figurative) pen and tackling this novel in what (I hope) is a fearless manner.
First, I have to tackle the most embarrassing of questions: what exactly did I write?
That may seem like a silly statement, but when you have over 200 pages of weaving and changing characters in a massive first draft, more details than I’d like to admit have slipped my mind.
Now, as I never like to offer a problem without a number of solutions, here we are:
- Write up an outline from memory and mark specific events that correspond to page numbers in the physical manuscript.
- Create scene cards – a la Kirk Hickman’s book Revising Fiction (one of my personal reference bibles for organizing a novel-length story, I discuss some more of his techniques here).
- Reference (or create) a Story Bible – A binder full of extra information, extraneous plot lines, research, and anything else that pertains to your novel that may or may not be critical to the actual manuscript
- Re-read the entire story. Keep a notepad handy to write notes as ideas strike you in your read-through, but don’t get caught up re-writing too much dialogue or a scene yet. This is to re-familiarize yourself with the project as a whole, to remember the basic plot and purpose.
- My Muse has ADHD (megganconnors.wordpress.com)
- Creation of a Manuscript 01: Realism & Being PC (jessefox1968.wordpress.com)
- The Truth About My NaNoWriMo Manuscript (melleamade.wordpress.com)
- Lesson Four from the Gold Mine Manuscript Red Line: And Then there was a Conjunction, or Was There? (jennifermeaton.wordpress.com)
- Writing in Rio, Preparing for Nanowrimo (melleamade.wordpress.com)
- “I love this but I can’t publish it.” (efharvey.wordpress.com)
- How I Write (bruceblake.wordpress.com)