Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for staying nice and Juicy while revising your ms

Juicy you say! What the??!! Juicy I say. It would be the opposite of dry and reserved, unsexy and boring. Even if you don't like revising (and I do) sometimes it doesn't have the magic that your earlier dates with the manuscript did. You take this manuscript for granted and don't bother to get excited about hauling it out of the drawer (as if anyone had a manuscript in a drawer anymore! Ha!). I'm suggesting that for the sake of the time you have left with this creature that it would behoove you to remember why you fell in love in the first place. Plan a date with your manuscript every couple of weeks. Put on your fancy reading clothes, pour yourself a glass of scotch and curl up on the couch with your ms and let the magic back in. Focus not on whether the plot works or you have too many or too few commas - this is a different sort of curling up. Read the parts over that make you laugh and really relish them. Go to the sad bits and let yourself wail and sob. Get into every little delicious bit of it - as if someone who knows you really well had written a book just for you. And so they did! Every relationship needs some time where the partners only notice what is working - catch the manuscript's brilliance and turn a blind eye to the boring or bad bits. You'll get back to it but you'll get back refreshed and ready to tackle the manuscript for the right reason - because you have a relationship worth saving!

What do you do when revising to keep the juice juicy?


Anonymous said...

Oh, that's so important, Jan! To me it's a lot like a couple staying together. You need to remind yourself why you're with that person in the first place to help keep your spark alive. And you need a similar spark with a manuscript.

Susan Scott said...

Great advice Jan, we do forget what the initial magic was all about. With our own ms we need to remember as well. I'll approach my writing in the future with more juice for more re-membering. it's a lovely thought - maybe a whisky on the rocks as writing can put me on the rocks.

Christine (a.k.a. Mombie/isekhmet) said...

Oh, this is great advice.

I still struggle with revising. It seems like once I do that first draft, my brain checks the story off as 'done.' It takes a lot of mental effort for me to revisit it.

Your posts are inspiring though!

Shirley Corder said...

Good thoughts here Jan! Thanks for the reminder to keep our love alive!