OK, so I recommend re-reading a mss as a revision strategy. And I practice what I preach, believe me. So, this week, I’ve been re-reading my WIP novel and struggling. Here are the problems I encountered.
5 Problems with Reading for Revision
- Sleepy. Yes, my novel kept putting me to sleep. Yawn. Now, it’s not the novel’s fault, you understand. It’s mine. I’ve had worries on my mind, which meant I haven’t slept well, which meant, I’m susceptible to an afternoon nap. Not that I ever succumb; but I want to. Also, I have my gorgeous 100+ year old blue Victorian house, which also houses my husband’s business, complete with new staff who likes to turn up the thermostat. The warmer temperatures aren’t helping my sleepiness problems.
- I totally left out a scene. I wrote it in a notebook while traveling and intended to type it up and insert it and all this time, I’ve assumed it was there. Nope. Still in the notebook. Inserting that helped the story a lot, but it meant that I lost the line of thought again and had to backtrack a bit to pick it back up again.
- The urge to rewrite is almost overwhelming. I wanted to stop and insert, move, delete, etc. I had to almost read with no pen/pencil in hand, to keep myself from doing that. This was supposed to be a straight-read-through, not an editing-read-through. I did manage at last to just put a check mark in the margin, or do the tiniest editing possible just to read through the story. Or I wrote tiny post-it notes (the 1 1/4″ x 2 inch size), and I have a stack of them to work through eventually.
- Now what? So, now I have a better idea of the overall story and what else is needed. But there needs to be a few changes to up the tension, develop a better twist, etc. Now, I need to think (which makes me sleepy, of course!). Reading alone doesn’t solve the problems; it’s just one of the steps toward a solution.
- Beginning again is the hardest thing I do. And stopping to re-read, well, it means I stopped. So, I have to start again. Sigh.
Overall, though, this read-through has helped immensely to let me see the overall scope/sequence/arc of the story. I understand where to go next, even if the specifics are still fuzzy. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to finish it within the next few weeks.