Friday, October 18, 2013
I am starting to rework my current novel--back from the beginning of the romance novel set in Cape May, New Jersey. A couple of issues have come up in my mind as I am starting to revise it: the point of view needs some work, the main protagonist needs to be more likable, and a crucial scene about half-way through needs work.
I know these things, and chipping away at it is exciting and fun. I look forward to submitting this to my writing group for feedback.
Another side to this comes out, however. Like Randy and many writers, I'm sort of a perfectionist. Letting the work go and stopping the revision isn't something I have ever been able to do. Revision seems to be an ongoing process that just gets stalled.
In my previous project--a retelling of Frankenstein--the revisions turned into a monster. I became so focused with the details and individual comments from the group that I lost sight of the overall project. I have reworked every chapter at least twenty times, sometimes more, and the changes felt gradually less what I wanted to write. I grew to hate working on it and put it aside.
I'll go back to the project sometime, and I'm glad to be working on something so completely different. I've never written anything like a romance in New Jersey before this, and most people who know me, know that this is a break from my comfort zone. But so was writing a soft science fiction. Stanley Kubrick's attempt to make movies in every genre inspired me.
Back to the revisions. I heard the term "franken-revision" not too long ago and laughed out loud. I'm not sure who said it. This immediately made me think of what happened with my Frankenstein novel. That novel had turned into a monster as I said before, and I walked away from it shaking my head. The careful planning and control disappeared. The revisions took over. And not in a good way.
In a way, I can see how easy it would be for this to happen again.
The changes I want to make in my latest novel are clear. How do writers make the changes they want to make and let the work go?