I promised I would share some examples of this type of revising. This may not be the best illustration I could offer, but I didn’t want to make things run too long. It is taken from my current work-in-progress (wip) about five sisters who set out on what may be the last road trip they will ever take together. Remembrances of their past and revelations about the present threaten their relationships and their future. You might suspect that this is a dense novel – relationships amongst five women equal 25 relationships to illuminate – and you’d be right. So part of the task is telling the whole story fully in as economic a way as possible. Which means I’m in for several passes of revisions.
FOCUSING ON THE SMUGGLE AND STITCH
In these side-by-sides samples, the Original version has blue highlights where I took out the sections that do not appear in the Revised version. The Revised version has the added/new material highlighted all in green.
This revision encompassed three tasks.
- First, it eliminated unnecessary words. (And, of course, in compiling this post, I’ve noticed more I need to remove, but that’s for another day.)
- Second, it smuggled in details that were important for the reader to get an accurate view of the scene, and to foreshadow, or at least drop clues to the reader about something the sisters were missing.
- Third, it stitched in the beginning of my new material, hopefully integrating it with the original material smoothly.
In addition to what is shown here, I had to go through earlier parts of the manuscript to smuggle in further hints and information so that this section made sense. When I make the next, full-manuscript revision, I will watch out for where my efforts did not work and what kind of fixes they require.
This may be the most difficult kind of re-writing there is. Certainly it holds up a project. But, from past experience, I can tell you it may be the most important kind there is to face down and conquer.
It may be difficult for readers to spot what I mean in these examples. This kind of coaching often works better in an interactive environment. If you have questions about what I’ve done here, or even if you disagree, please feel free to comment and we’ll have a conversation.