Saturday, November 13, 2010

Repairing A Jalopy

This is not a photo of our actual motorhome. No, this is my dream motorhome.

You see, our motorhome is more like a 32-foot-long jalopy, circa 1988. Having an older motorhome means we've made plenty of fond memories while stuck in oddball towns. The kids and I take in the local scenery as my husband digs through the motor, trying to figure out how to repair it.

The beautiful thing is, he always figures it out (my husband is a mechanical genius...but I digress). Each time he repairs our motorhome he gets to know it a little more. He learns what makes it tick, and what each noise is trying to tell him.

I liken it to reading through an early draft. It might squeak or hiss. It might wobble or thump. But as we read through it each time, we get to know it a little better. We figure out what's wrong, and if we don't know how to fix it, we'll learn. (Click here for Nathan Bransford's Revision Checklist.)

The beauty of a jalopy is this: we can enjoy it over and over again, making repairs along the way. We can polish it until it shines (almost) like my dream motorhome!

How do you feel about the revision process? Do you enjoy getting to know your manuscript better?

photo credit: GiantRV.com

22 comments:

  1. It's easy to get fed up with revisions, but if you think of it as getting to know your manuscript better, it certainly makes it easier. :)

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  2. You have a good point, Julie. I think revising is definitely necessary. I feel strong about it when I start, but as I clearly remember when I was revising The Magic of Light for publication, I got very tired of the process after a while. After a while, as I'm sure you know, you get to the point where you've re-edited the same part of the book over and over again and you almost have the part of the book memorized. You know what's going to happen so you argue with your characters and you rant all day long because nothing new is happening. You're simply re-editing. At least, that's what it is like for me.
    All the same though, Julie you've got a point here and whether we like it or not revisions are necessary and draw us in closer to our project.
    --Lindsey

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  3. It is one of my dreams to own a motor home and travel the country! How lucky you are...even with the "challenges." Ha.

    I actually love revision process much more than writing the draft. It's a journey of discovery. Earlier this year, I was frustrated with the progress I was making but now that I've gotten over that -- knowing the novel project will be better in the long run, I'm enjoying the process of uncovering and making the book stronger.

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  4. Hi, Julie. That's what I'm doing now, as time permits; polishing book 2. My problem is I start tinkering, making changes, as opposed to simply editing.
    Thanks for posting. Take care of yourself. See you over on Twitter...
    -Jimmy

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  5. I enjoy the editing phase. I like going back through it, improving and adding. And of course, a lot of fixing!

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  6. I love some parts of editing (slashing!!!) and hate others (staightening out plot issues). I hadn't seen Nathan's list before - thanks!

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  7. Love the comparison! And I LOVE rewrites-- it's where I finally manage to write the story the way I want to.

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  8. I'm taking a break after nano, then....my very first round of revisions. I'll let you know.

    Great analogy, btw.

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  9. LOL. A old motor home (circa 1988) figures prominently in my WIP, so this cracked me up, Julie!

    Oh, and I love revising!

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  10. LOL! I love the comparison. You know me, I thrive on the polishing process. Revision is my happy place.

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  11. oh i wish i could see revisions with a great attitude -- but it depends on how i feel that day!!

    (p.s. hope you get your dream motorhome some day!)

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  12. I hate editing my children's books, there's never enough time to meet my personal deadlines.. !!

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  13. It's a chore for me revising and editing but I have to admit when I do it...and then reread...I like what I've done. Your analogy is the best. thanks for this and I will check out that site on revision.

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  14. Generally, I love revisions. But lately, I've grown a little tired of one manuscript and I need it to be done already.

    However with that said, I like revisions more than first drafts. I'd rather have something to work with, even something bad, rather than a blank page.

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  15. I like the revision process, too. Although, like Jeannie, I have one book that I get tired of from time to time. I have to keep getting away from it so that I can "see" it again when I return to it. It's been through so many rewrites, I get sick of it. Then, absence does make the heart grow fonder: I'm happy to see it again when I come back to it. I'm hoping that this eventually means a really great book!

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  16. I'm going to tell you my dream, and my secret uber-awesome marketing plan should I ever, I MEAN when-I-get-published-plan. Borrow my in-laws motor home and go across country for a book tour because I have only been up the coast to Washington and want to see the whole country. Okay, so maybe not that awesome, but I want to stop in so many places!!
    For some reason, I like revisions. It gives me a chance to really think a bit more clearly about my characters and sometimes I get these whole new ideas!

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  17. I really like this analogy!

    And I like the revision process. I'm just tired at this point (the fifth revisions and I hope the last that I just sent to my editor) of my manuscript and think I know it all that I want to!!!

    Your husband sounds like the most wonderful person, and you sound like a wonderful wife and mother.

    Have a great week!
    Ann

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  18. I'd rather be writing the jalopy. But I don't mind revision now that I understand a bit better.

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  19. It's great when it works in the end. But when you're in the middle of it with extra pieces hanging around... :D

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  20. Nowadays, I am enjoying my revisions a lot. I certainly am getting to know my manuscript better and better. Hope you enjoyed your holiday, Julie.

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  21. I used to enjoy it but not so much anymore! I am doing most of it this time as I go--write a few weeks, take a break and then go back and look at if with fresh eyes.

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