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The First Time

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I just read a post by a fellow ACFW member, Georgiana D, about the agony of going through, for the first time and editing a manuscript. Before I started the WPF program at Seton Hill, this is something I’d never tackled, for the very simple reason that I didn’t want to.

When I first started out writing, I would write in chunks. When I had an idea for my characters, I’d sit down and write until the idea ran out, whether it was something that would fit into the structure of a story or not. I didn’t have a “plot” — I had characters I loved and that I wanted to spend time with. Part of the way I spent time with them was constantly rewriting, reimagining, and expanding already-existing scenes. This is why I never completed a full manuscript until after I turned 30…because I was an indulgence writer.

I never realized that what I used to do in the past, which I thought was a bad habit I had to break myself of, was actually training for revising a manuscript. Once I learned how to write a novel from beginning to end with no detours (okay, a few, but not many), when it came time to actually revise one, I found myself looking forward to it. Because I started Happy Endings, Inc., three times and because I had to turn in a certain volume of page count for school before settling firmly on the plot, by the time I wrote the last chapter, the first third of the novel was completely out of whack with the direction I ended up taking my story. I couldn’t wait to get back into it and revise, reimagine, and refurbish my manuscript into a novel.

Once I started editing, I started seeing gaps, holes, that needed filling. I had more ideas for ways to bring the characters together –or separate them! I more fully understood the internal and spiritual conflict for my heroine. And I ended up liking my story more for having spent time polishing it.

That made the second and third times that much easier, too.

One Comment
  1. GeorgianaD permalink
    Tuesday, June 13, 2006 10:36 am

    That’s so cool that you get to go to school to write. (I’m trying not to turn green.) Editing is fun, possibly even more fun than the first time around, simply because I know where I’m going this time. It makes all the difference.

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