Monday, July 12, 2010

Beginning Revisions: First Read

I waited a few months after last reading my (unsubbed) novel, hoping that would give me the distance I needed to be more objective about it when I started revising. My plan was to read it all the way through first, then think about what I needed to change. I was surprised how painful it was for me to read it. It didn't feel like a real book. It sounded a lot worse than I expected. And a few times I got so bored I wanted to give up on the idea of reading through it at all.

Maybe I wasn't in the right mood, but I made myself finish. After a while, it got easier. I slipped back into the world of my story and even began to enjoy a scene here or there.

The process of reading it through without trying to fix anything turned out to be valuable. For starters, those places where my attention wandered were telling me something. The fact that I didn't get into the book right away might mean I haven't got the opening right yet. The places that I enjoyed might be telling me about what I need to keep. 

Have you ever found your own writing difficult to read? Did it turn out to be helpful?


  1. I think your own writing is always somewhat difficult to read. I am learning that the closer I get to having a polished manuscript the easier it is to read. I am on draft number four. Or should I say, complete rewrite number four...

  2. Yes, I too have suffered through the pain of reading my own writing.

  3. Holly, it really is painful. I hadn't found it this bad before,though. Maybe it means it's not as polished as I thought, Tabitha.

  4. I've found reading it out loud is helpful—a lot more than silently reading it. More pops out at me when I literally hear the story.

  5. Andrea V., that sounds like a good idea for when I finish cutting & combining -- I'm sure there will be some places where transitions aren't as polished, etc.


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