I know you’re too polite to ask if it’s my waist we’re talking about, so we won’t go there. The issue right now is that there’s a lot of middle to the revision process.

I am coming out the other end of a developmental overhaul of my novel. Starting the process was incredibly overwhelming. It required me to do things that are hard for me, like outlining and thinking about the big-picture, and distilling out the most basic building blocks of story from the reams of pages I’ve written. (Yes, literally reams)

I thought I would enjoy the revision process. I love revising poetry. But overhauling a novel was stressful. Also, I learned a lot. Also, the overhaul was not the whole revision.

As I make more revision passes, the whole process is transforming into more familiar territory. Perhaps transforming is not the right word. It’s more that as the scale diminishes, the process becomes recognizable to me. I can more quickly see what needs to be done, and jump from one thing to another. The changes I need to make are less daunting, more localized to a few chapters or a few paragraphs.

I’m seeing a point where I may be able to do line edits without feeling like I’m wasting time. Improving sentences that will later be cut is a waste of time, but I must admit I’ve done that quite a lot.  Not as much as I wanted to, mind you, but it’s a weakness. I keep working on restraint. But soon I’ll be able to give myself free rein to pay attention to the flow of paragraphs, dig into telling details, nitpick at words and sentences. My poet heart will be happy.

I’m finally getting to the part of revision that I love.

It’s taken almost a year of revisions to get me here. Wow. Every time I add up the time I’ve spent on some phase or other of my novel (never mind the time since I started) I’m shocked. Every. Single. Time.

But, hey, there’s a lot of middle around here. Things take time when you’re learning something new. Thanks for all the support while I muddle my way through.

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