Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Puzzle of Revisions

Sometimes revisions are fairly straightforward. You read what you first wrote, figure out how to change it, then do it. Sometimes it's less simple.

A couple of times during my revisions of CHOSEN COMPLIANCE, the second book in my new series The Dust Chronicles, I've hit places where I get stuck, going over the same section of the book over and over and over, moving scenes, moving them back, moving them again, before finally everything kind of falls into place.

I hit another section like that yesterday and I'm praying I'll get through it today. My sister and her kids are visiting from Ottawa and I'm bummed that I have to work instead of playing with them :( . As they left to go visit my parents, SIL and other nephew, I said something to my sister like, "I've got to get past this place. I just need to make some decisions."

To which she replied, "Flip a coin."

Now... that does work sometimes. When it's just an A or B choice. And if either choice works equally well, then you go with the coin toss. And if one is better than the other, then your gut will  tell you whether or not the coin made the right choice. Easy peasy.

But revisions, at least on this book, are not so simple. And while I was in the shower, I figured out a better analogy.

It's like a really complicated puzzle, but the pieces, as given to you by the puzzle manufacturer, don't fit. Most of the pieces (but not all) require modification before they'll snap into place. So you juggle them around, imagining how you'd modify each and at some point you just have to commit. You put them in a place, get out your chisel, (or chain saw), and carve away at the pieces and see whether or not you were right.

Problem is, you don't really know if you're right until all the carving/modifying is done. And if you were wrong, or if you see a better way for them to fit after... Well, then you've still got a mess of puzzle pieces that don't work and all now need modifying in another way and the second (or tenth) crack at the reorganizing will be to be even more complicated than the previous ones. And some puzzle pieces are now so distorted that you can't even recognize their original shapes, never mind what you think they should be.

Can you tell I'm befuddled? Anyone else ever get like this?


Eileen said...

I just got a stomach ache reading that. Pretty accurate analogy.

Misty said...

So so true, Maureen. Hit the nail right on the head. I hope it all falls into place for you. Carve that up like turkey and make it sing :)

Jordan said...

Living it right now. Glad I'm not alone :)

Anonymous said...

That's a great analogy.... I know it will fall into place for you... and excited to read it

Stephanie Doyle said...

Ditto on the excited to read part. The Dust Chronicles... very cool.

Molly O'Keefe said...

oh i so understand reading that made me want a beer and some toast - so stressful

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