revision blues

So, one of my current WIPs is an historical romance. I have a complete draft, commented on by my critique group, set aside for…longer than the appropriate waiting period, and I’m now in full revision mode. Except it’s taking FOREVER. Full disclosure: I’m ridiculously slow at pretty much every stage of writing.

But oh, that final stage of revision. It’s a slow beast, no? I’ve discussed this at length with my critique partner, and we’ve decided that there must be some deep-seated psychological issue about not wanting to finish.

Here’s my general revision process:

  1. Read through my critique partners’ notes. Quickly! I just take it all in and ignore it if something stings (the sting, I mean, not the comment). No responding (unless it’s an actual clarification question), reacting, or note-taking.
  2. Waiting period. Days or weeks, depending on the length of the piece.
  3. Read through the whole thing. Ideally, I like to PDF it first so I can’t edit at all. I make general notes in a notebook, like “Ch 1 – Simon needs to be less of a tool.” I’ll also note when I need to cut chapters or I have a new idea for how to fix a conflict problem, etc.
  4. Once I have my notes, I’ll read through my critique partners’ notes again, this time with a new draft open to make editing changes (spelling, etc.) and my handy notebook next to me to add their comments to mine.
    • Here’s where I’ll react to their comments (to myself!). Generally by this point any sting I may have initially felt has dissipated. I’ve been thinking about my quick initial read-through for a while, so I probably already have percolating reactions – which are usually primarily good. At any rate, this is the place where I take the helpful stuff and add it to my to-revise notebook and leave the other stuff behind.
  5. Go!

Aaaaand….here’s the problem. I’m pretty good at #1-4. I get stuck (I am stuck!) at #5. I did recently shift my perspective a bit and print out my chapters to work by hand, which is helping. Forward motion! Forward motion is good.

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