Have been working on the read-through/write-in revision of Dead Man’s Party for the past month or so. Finished it today after a four-hour hard push.
So the next step, which starts tomorrow, is to build the color-coded index card line-for-scene, which is my PLAN for FIXING IT.
That should anywhere between a day or two and a full week of heavy lifting.
Since I couldn’t find any of my favorite index cards, I’m improvising with some plain white ones that I had in a neat little Oxford ring binder, and color tabs I located in one of my “Office Supply” drawers that I’ll stick on the right edge.
These colored tabs* indicate :
- GREEN: No changes or small changes — Up to 24% of the scene needs to change
- YELLOW: Moderate changes — 25% to 49% of the scene needs to change
- ORANGE: Big changes — 50% to 74% of the scene needs to change
- RED: BRUTAL OVERHAUL — 75% change up to toss scene, write something completely new.
I might have two or three green cards.
I already know I have three or four red cards.
In between, I’m going to be living in the yellow-to-orange zone, and I’m betting I’m going to end up with MORE orange.
I’ll show you the card outline when I get it built, and give you the actual Scene Count and Damage Report. Being realistic rather than hopeful, it will probably take me the rest of the week to get this done, and MAY run over. I’m out of practice, and this is a process that gets easier the more often and more FREQUENTLY you do it.
Maybe the Inspiration Fairy will land on my head and hit me with its vicious little mallet. If that happens, this will go faster.
The thing you want to avoid at all costs during your revision read-through and write-in is to make the discovery — after your first draft has cooled off — that the novel is nothing you want to finish: that you don’t care about the people, the conflict, the world, the twists.
And that didn’t happen.
Even in the midst of the wreckage I love this. Love it much more than I thought I would. Revising it is going to be a big, hard, dirty job. But it’s SO going to be worth it.
And this is the ONLY thing I’m going to be working on (excluding the necessary stuff of paying bills, answering emails, spending time on the forums, and dealing with the nearing Big Chaos).
This gets half or more of every workday until both the revision replot and the final type-in are done.
This part can take a long damn time. Or it can go quickly. And I am a lousy judge of which way any particular revision is going to fall.
I just know, though, that I’m going to love doing this one.
*The colored index card process is part of How to Revise Your Novel.