Thursday, September 29, 2011

Revision, pouting, and shading

I like revising, so I find I don't need a lot of tricks or things to get myself in the revision mood. I just sit down to work. It makes me happy.

The thing I have discovered about my revision process is this: sometimes I need a draft or two to get used to the idea of big changes.

Recently I was working on revising the beginning of a book. I knew it didn't work. I KNEW it. The beginning made the structure wonky, the pacing weird, brought up things that were never mentioned again in the book . . . yeah. It didn't work. It had to change.

But let me tell you, I resisted. I revised those first few chapters over and over, determined to keep them because the setting/information/revelations were going to be important in the next book in the series. But what I SHOULD have been thinking about was what was important for THIS book.

After a couple friends said, "Jodi, this isn't working," and I slumped in my chair to pout for a few days, I finally accepted the idea of having to make a huge change.

I tried on several new beginnings to see how they looked, and to see whether I could find a way to include the same information that I'd thought was so important.

It turns out? Yes. All that was possible, even though the idea of such a big change after so much was written -- that was scary. My new beginning still required a few more drafts to fit juuuust right, because I'm a shader -- I shade in depth, worldbuilding, information, and all that good stuff in the revisions -- but in the end, I was much happier with the story. And the next person who read it? Had nothing to negative to say about the beginning.


Jodi Meadows is the author of INCARNATE, book one of the Newsoul Trilogy. (January 31, 2012 - HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.)

She lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. You can find her on her website and blog.

*A Kippy is a cat.


  1. Yes, the curling up and pouting, I'm familiar with that when people tell me something isn't working. But freaking smart critiquers, they are usually right! So I usually growl and then do the revision or scene-cutting after enough of them agree. But I'm stubborn so I put this off as long as possible ;)

  2. So true, Jodi. The big changes take a little while to warm up to, and a little while to fit in perfectly. They are so rewarding, though. Great post.

  3. Heather - Yes, I keep going after smart critiquers and then POUTING when they're right. WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BE SO SMART? Oh, right.

    Veronica - Soooo glad I'm not the only one who requires a ridiculous number of drafts to get things in there just right. :D

  4. Oh, man, I totally cling to stuff that's not quite working too. You'd think after so many times, you'd learn...but that initial resistance always seems to be there, at least for me!

  5. Heh, yeah. My first response is always a dramatic, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo! Oh. Maybe I can do that..."