Writing may be rewriting, but it’s also editing — moving pieces of text from one spot to another. I’ve been doing quite a bit of this lately in YA novel and it’s challenging. As soon as soon as you move one piece, often something else has to be moved as well: there’s a ripple effect in revising that can turn one change into several.
Revising is tough. If there’s one thing I’ve learned working through changes on my YA novel, it’s that there are no short cuts. You can’t rush through revisions. You have to be willing to take the process step by step and keep at it until you get the results you want. At a certain point, almost like a kaleidescope, the pieces seem to shift into place.
At first, making changes seems like a straightforward cut-and-paste job, but eventually you realize that there’s a lot of mystery to it. After doing it for a while, you just know intuitively where something needs to go. When you move it there and it fits the flow of your story, it’s just enormously satisfying. Suddenly, what you’re writing seems to be getting richer and more layered.
At a certain point, you begin to see how your story is moving forward and to feel its energy and rhythm — the narrative pulse. You also get a glimpse of what your completed work might look like. You’re not there yet, and you may have more revising to do, but you begin to feel that you’re in the homestretch. I’ve got the feeling that I’ll know when my book is finished — that it will tell me. So I’m just going to keep revising until I get there and enjoy the journey. How about you? Do you find revising rewarding or wrenching?