Thursday, 28 January 2010

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

Today I ran out of procrastination options and cracked on with editing my first chapter. It’s been both scary and fun.

It’s surprisingly satisfying to edit on paper. Unlike editing onscreen, where however hard you work nothing seems to change, this way I can see my own writing spidering all over the page: crossed-out words and scribbled notes. I like that.

On the other hand, I fear that I’m misapplying the One-Pass Method. Holly Lisle’s introduction led me to think that the purpose is to slash chapters at a time, drastically change plotlines, strike out entire characters, etc. But I’m finding myself primarily cutting excess wordcount. I’ve taken about 10% out of my first chapter just by cutting words and clauses. That’s disconcerting, because I think of myself as a short writer: I broke the long writing habit after my 220k monster novel and both my recent novels came in around 80k. Apparently I still have fat to lose.

I’m glad I found that out, but I’m also kind of scared that I’m not finding major game-changing big-picture problems. Am I going too easy? Are there problems I’m not seeing?

It’s possible that this first chapter is just totally awesome, since my other critique group liked it. I might be so traumatised by editing THE INFERNAL FAMILY that I won’t be satisfied until I’m bleeding from the eyes and ripping out key elements of the story.

I could be learning to write cleaner first drafts. I like that idea.


  1. The last teaser Tuesday was from the first chapter right? Yep, it's just totally awesome.

    As for me, I actually found it hard to find stuff I wasn't going to change completely when I was searching for some excerpts from The Wrong Side to show someone. I think I'll re-write it completely, then do Holly Lisle's method. Thanks for linking to it by the way.

    I LOVE the idea of cleaner first drafts.

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