Revision Is a Beast With Too Many Teeth

So I began revising The Damn Book.

Damn this book.

I went into the revision process knowing I would have to jettison and rewrite one chapter that just didn’t work.  And I knew I wanted to insert a few “interludes” that would show what daily life in the Empire is like for humans.  What I didn’t expect was finding so many little details that just bother me, and need to be fixed.

I don’t know how other people do revision, but here’s my method:  I read through the story as if I was just reading for fun, find things I want to fix, and fixing them as I go.  It’s not the slowest thing in the world, but it isn’t the fastest, either.  I find myself constantly going back in the narrative, looking to make sure things are coherent, checking to make sure what I think is the standing reality of the story is actually making sense with what I did last week.

The one nagging problem I’ve got is that I’m wondering why I insisted on writing this in first person.  I think Book 2, should it come to be, will move beyond first person and start showing some of the other possible viewpoints.

The work proceeds, but it’s slow–less because of methodology and more because of life and work events that preclude writing time.  My wife is dealing with some debilitating pain from an unspecified cause, which means I’ve been handling more than my usual share of child-related responsibilities.

And of course there’s the day job.  I had been all caught up with grading, but I’ve gotten behind again, largely thanks to idiotic administrative decisions that have necessitated me doing the vast majority of scutwork I used to be able to delegate to student aides, leaving me less and less time for the rather intensive work of grading essays.

My goal at this point is to get this book finished before I leave for my Scotland trip, which gives me four months.  I should be able to do that, right?

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About Michael Johnston

Father of a fifth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-six years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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