Hundred foot waves

by SJ Griffin

There’s something really overwhelming about the point where you are about to start revising a first draft.  It must be how Carlos Burle and surfer friends felt at Nazaré the other day.

Except, I guess, with less chance of death. I’ve got a small heap (a hump?) of post-it notes here with strange sentences scribbled on them next to my keyboard and on my screen there’s a 106,098 word document waiting for my crazed annotation.

All I have to do it take those notes, which I collected in my A6 Moleskine notebook, a la Hemingway, over the course of writing all those words, and find the relevant points in the text to insert them as comments.

The trick I, I’ve found, when revising a first draft is to take the big problems and fix them first before you start fiddling around with the little things. For example, I’ve got a character that switches sides and joins Sorcha’s band of not really all that merry men and women. This was all fine and dandy until chapter eleven when it became clear that it was unfine and undandy and a catastrophic error in judgement. That needs fixing, he must remain on the bad(der) guys side before I make good the dodgy moon metaphors and the jokes that couldn’t fall any flatter if Wily Coyote dropped an Acme anvil on them.  Then once I’ve done that I need to make sure every word is the best I can rustle up given the circumstances and so the whole things becomes an exercise in ever decreasing amendments until I am sick of it. I mean, until I am happy with it. Obviously.

It’s the thought of having to read it, so I can annotate it, that makes me feel sick.

I think I’ll make myself a cup of tea and see how I feel after that.

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