so you want to revise your novel
…but you don’t know where to start. you might best try talking to someone who has already seen this process through to some sort of conclusion. but until then, here’s what i am doing.
i have been following the revision roadmap set out by Jennifer Blanchard. it was helpful for me to see her rough timeframe estimates so that i could know where i am. this is a very large problem for me, someone who regularly writes (short) poems. a novel is a lot of words. too many really for me to keep track of. hence the roadmap. there are also links to handy organizational tools to help with plotting and story structure.
i also read The Parable of You: Stories by Tony Wolk. it is a collection of very short stories, sometimes called flash fiction. normally, in my reading life, i am not really interested in short stories. i like lush, thick, expansive novels. i like them even more now that i see what beasts they are from the writer’s end! something about the form of these short-short stories captivated me. they seem almost like prose poems. ah! something i can do! so i am still revising the novel, but i have a hunch this might be a collection of short pieces.
and i am starting to work through Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew by Ursula K. Le Guin. it is a work horse of a book. i am using scenes from the novel to do the exercises. that way i don’t have to concoct new storyline. i can instead focus on the point of craft that she is teaching. the learning curve is steep. i don’t in any way think that at the end of this process i will have a readable final draft. but the upside is that this daily attention has primed the pump. my journal is full to bursting and a few poems have even come.