Sunday, 31 January 2010

day four of holly lisle’s one-pass revision method

The secret purpose of these daily reports is to make me feel guilty about lack of progress. I was planning to pack it in and go to bed at midnight, with one pathetic chapter under my belt, but then I realised I would have to confess my failure. Again. So I got back to work.

Once again, I’m feeling a little wary. I’m just not finding that many problems. Places to tighten, absolutely. Continuity errors, often. Stuff I mentioned once and never again, sometimes. (I’m enjoying rediscovering elements I planned to make much more of but forgot.) But I’m currently editing the seventh chapter, and I still haven’t had to rip out this novel’s entire skeleton and wire in a new one. The dialogue is spiky, the conflict is tense, my protagonist is snarky and frequently horrifying, backstory is arriving bit by bit -- the Winter Queen just got her first mention. It’s mostly fine. And that in itself is bizarre.

By the time I got to this stage with THE INFERNAL FAMILY, I’d already done a spectacularly huge rethink -- characters, setting, genre, antagonist, entire species -- twice. I bled. I cried. I tore my hair out. Most of the novel was scrapped and rewritten from scratch.

I can’t shake the suspicion that by hunting piddling little continuity errors I’m rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. There must be an iceberg lurking under the surface. I can’t imagine a revision voyage without one.

Keeping the lifejacket at hand.


  1. Well you've obviously written a better draft than you did with The Infernal Family. And keep it up. It's reviewing Sunday on YWS. True, you are meant to revise other people's work... but it's a minor detail.

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