My WIP’s Fifth Revision – Chipping Away


My WIP’s Fifth Revision

Chipping Away

leaping-2Well, I made my punch list and I’m working stuff off.

I’d like to say I’m having fun, but…

…I enjoy writing far more than revising, which I only tolerate, or editing, which is hard and dull and I can hardly stand it.

…I’m always afraid when I start a new phase of this WIP for fear I’m finally and forever going to ruin it.

…I wonder when I will finally finish this stupid WIP.

Other than that, it’s all good.  Ha.

What List Was That Again?

My on-line and real-time beta readers read my story and offered questions and comments.  Then I sorted them into yes, no, and maybe piles, before bouncing them off someone familiar with my story.  She only offered opinions while I decided what to finally do.

Then came the really hard part…turning the yes things into something I could actually do.  Many notes cover more than one scene.

Something like Show we aren’t on Earth by mentioning three moons was pretty straightforward, because all I needed to do was find places to mention the moons…after I named them and decided if they caused other things to happen on my world, like strange tide tables and stuff.

But there are some things I don’t know how to do yet, like Show that my MC and her husband were trying hard to save their marriage and make it work but they never found out if they could save their marriage because someone assassinated him. 

And I also decided on three completely new scenes for which I have only the vaguest notion of what I want them to do.

How Did I Group These Changes?

The very first thing I did was make a spreadsheet with two columns.  In the first column I noted every scene a comment touched.  In the second column I wrote the comment, leaving it relatively generic unless I already had a strong idea what I wanted to do.  After that I sorted by scene and put notes in Scrivener against the scene, being as specific as I could.

I wound up with 96 of my 104 scenes touched by 120 comments.  Because many comments related to more than one scene I actually have 327 comments.

So, How Am I Doing It?

As with other revisions I’ve decided not to start at Scene One, fix everything in the scene, then move on to the next.  When I’ve tried that in the past I’ve had so many irons in the fire I forgot what I was doing.  For myself I’ve found it better to chase one thing through the story at a time.  But the danger is that I can fragment a scene…something I’m resigned to, hoping my new-found editing skills will save me.

So, where did I start?

I decided to start with single-scene comments so I sorted my comments by number of scenes.

Then I sorted the scenes based on how many comments each scene had, and started with scenes with only one comment.  Maybe this helps limit scene fragmenting…maybe.

I worked off the easy ones and I’m now down in the land of multiple scenes touched by comments, and scenes with multiple comments.

How Far Have I Come?

After a week’s toil I’ve fixed 34 scenes with 66 to go.  And I’ve answered 98 comments, leaving 229 to go.  And, so far, I’ve added 775 words with those completed scenes and I know I have added a far bit more in scenes still in-work.  I fear my WIP will climb back over 130,000 words.  Grrrrrrrr.

Does that mean I will finish in two more weeks?

I’ve no idea.  Truth to tell, it will take as long as it takes.


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