Some authors revise their manuscripts as they go along, others write flat out and then go back and revise after the story is completely written. Just like everything else in writing, there’s no right way or wrong way to revise your manuscript. There’s only the best way that works for you.
For me, I seem to alternate between the two depending on the story and how well it’s flowing and how much pre-thought I put into the plot, characters, etc.
Today’s blog post came about as I sat at my dining room table with a hard copy of my current work in progress. I’m about 50 to 75 pages from completing the manuscript and yet I can’t seem to make myself finish it. And I don’t know why. I’ve been at this point for about two weeks now. Usually, when I get within 100 pages of the end of a story, I can’t tear myself away from the computer. I’m so driven to see how everything works out. (Yes, I’m a pantser.) Instead, I find myself working on another story I've been thinking about.
Thinking if I went through and worked on revising some scenes, I’d get my mojo back, I worked on a few chapters, adding notes in the margins, drawing lines through entire paragraphs that seemed to serve no purpose, adding more dialogue in some places, and taking it out in others. Pretty soon, I was suffering from “revisionitis.” This is a term I made up to describe the feeling I sometimes get when revising a manuscript. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in following the “rules” we’ve all been told when we first started writing that I feel like I’ve revised the life right out of the scene. Other times I change a sentence or word only to change it again or back to what I’d originally written. At this point, I usually stop, knowing I’m not going to accomplish anything productive.
How about you? Do you revise as you go along or after you’ve completed the ms?
On a separate note - Tuesday, 11/8/11 I'm being interviewed at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews. Please come check it out. Here's the link: http://www.sizzlinghotbooks.net