On the Confusing Process of Revisions & Where to Start

I’ve been away from any sort of structured writing program for over a year now. I haven’t been working on a large writing project during that time, but had been working on some shorter projects. Short stories, flash fiction, poetry, pieces of shorter substance that have, for whatever reason, been easier for me to stay focused on.

Lately, I’ve been thinking hard about the novel I used as my thesis in my MFA program (if you’re curious about some of my experiences in that program, be sure to check out the links at the end of the post). I haven’t completed any writing on this project since May 18, 2014. That was the day before the final thesis was due to my mentor and program director.

One Year Later…

I don’t know if I can say that I didn’t want to work on that project over the last year. part of me did, but most of me didn’t, and I figured it’d be okay since it’s never a bad thing to step away from a piece sometimes.

Taking a year away was really stupid. Why? Because it’s left me with the following issues:

  • Where has the voice of my main charatcer gone?
  • What about the voices of my secondary characters?
  • How to begin to tackle the inconsistencies I know are in the writing?
  • HOW DO I BEGIN TO TACKLE ANYTHING?

And so, the confusion and anguish over not only the process of writing forward, but the revision process begins…

Where Does One Begin?

I’ve been asking this question of nearly everyone lately.

When you step away for such a ridiculously long time, how do you get back into a story and back into your process?

I’ve gotten some wonderful responses, too. (Honestly, I have the best group of writerly friends a girl could ask for!)

Re-read your work and take notes. Write down the things you know need fixing. Highlight. Mark up your shit with an ugly red pen. Get angry. Chop up your work. Dismantle, repair. KEEP WRITING.

Those are the things I needed to hear, and while I’m still in the process of doing all of them, I’m feeling inspired. I’m starting to feel better about the process, and I’m starting to understand my particular process.

I’ll be writing more about this very soon, but for now, here we go…

 

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