I’m learning more about my WIP than I ever thought I could through this process. Hi-liting the dialogue, narrative, exposition and description has shown me where the work is lacking, and where I’ve gone overboard.
The hard part has been not stopping to fix things as I see them. I must get through the whole manuscript before trying to fix things, or else there’s a good chance that when I do get to the end, I will have made changes that just have to be changed again. I need to know every change that needs to take place before I start making any changes.
This process is teaching me to look at the whole work, not just pieces of it. It’s been difficult to keep my eye on the ball. I want to rush through it and see change happening, but I know it would be a waste of time. So, each day brings me closer to the end of the manuscript, and to the time when I can begin to balance out the entire work and make it the best it can be.
I received a wonderful bit of advice from Christine Fairchild when I took an Editing Dialogue class from her. I told her it was hard for me to give up the words I had worked so hard to put on the page, and she said, “Here’s my secret: Don’t fall in love with the words. Fall in love with the story. Be true to the story.” Wow. That really helped me realize that falling in love with the words is a bit conceited. Falling in love with the story means I’ll do whatever I have to, to make it a great story–to make it live up to its potential.
So, I will continue this process of hi-liting and marking the script, finding issues I’ve never noticed, and gathering information. This is no time to be impatient. This is too important to rush through. Even though it feels like I’m killing time until I can begin the revision, I’ve realized that this is a vital part of the revision. I can’t fix what I can’t find. I can’t revise what I don’t know needs revision.
I know this is a short article. I just wanted to check in and let you know I’m still working on the same process. My computer was down for eight days and I felt so lost. But I had my script printed out, so I was able to continue working. I’ll be done soon. And then I’ll come back and let you know what I learned, and how it went, and what I’ll be doing next.