As I proclaimed on Twitter, I had less than 2 days to revise a 93,000 novel. This was my fault, as I turned in the book far beyond its due date—and you’d think, at this point, that I would have some words of wisdom about speedy revisions and how to do them. But I don’t, except to say: TURN YOUR BOOKS IN ON TIME.
Seriously, that’s the first step to sanity.
Of course, even if you are horribly diligent, there’s no guarantee you’ll be given a huge amount of time to fix your manuscript. Which is part of the reason why I’m always in favor of turning in the best draft possible the first time around. Or at least, the best draft you’re capable of producing at that particular moment in your life. The book you write in January, after all, will not be the same book you write in March. Circumstances change everything.
But I’m getting off track here. Speedy revisions. Here’s how I did it.
1. My editor had a list of four major things that needed to be fixed. I spent about an hour or two just staring at the ceiling: daydreaming, getting a feel for how those those changes would fit into the story. Just letting it soak in.
2. And then, keeping those things in mind, I started from page one and read really, really, fast. No distractions, no television, no telephone. Just total immersion in the book. Focused, hard, reading. And every time I found areas that would accommodate those changes—in a way that would really carry the punch that was needed—I would revise. I mean, there were other little tweaks here and there, but that’s the gist of it.
I know it sounds like a no-brainer, and not a big deal, but when you’re rushed like that, paring everything down to essentials—what really matters in the story—becomes all that matters to you as a writer. That, and I have a great editor who was available every minute of the way to answer questions, give advice, and cheer me on.
Anyway. That was yesterday. Today I’m finishing another project. It is a beautiful day and the sun is shining, the red buds are blooming, I just had some apple spice cake, and Daisy is playing with Pink Bunny.