I was walking around tonight singing “Revision! REVISION!” like some sort of prosaic Tevye. Some pages are more time-consuming than others. I only made it through one today. Normally, I can get through a page in about half an hour. I have a fine-tuned process. I go through the first time, and I am relentless. I hack and slash with my blue pen, write entirely new sentences, highlight and draw arrows, underline, circle until the page looks like some toddler’s masterpiece. The second go round is slower, more about tweaking and finesse. There are still a few words crossed out and changed. This is more the time to make sure that word is really the best one for that sentence. Should it be “believable”? “Conceivable”? Oh, what about “plausible”? (Shoot, now I’m gonna have to go back and change that. “Plausible” really is a better word. I think it was the one I was trying to think of earlier). The final pass is to read it through out loud to make sure it sounds all right.

As I said, I can generally get through this process in a half-hour for one page. I spent probably an hour and a quarter on one page today. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking me such an excessively long time to get through this revision (and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ll go for months without touching it all). But you know what? I love every second of it.

Alyraekas is…it’s difficult to explain my attachment to this particular book. It certainly wasn’t my first novel. I’m not even certain it is my best. But for some reason, it’s the one I’m most attached to. I sat down to edit my page, for the first time in months, and it was like coming home. I was so happy to go back into that world. I spent five years writing it initially, and there is a sort of rueful joy to go back and tear apart all my stilted purple prose and recreate the sentences to tell their story in better words.

I consider Alyraekas my ‘life’s work.” It might never be published. That’s okay (only in the ultimate sense: every writer wants their works published, especially the life’s work). It will still likely be my favorite. After five years of working on it, I swore up and down there would be no sequel. My characters had other plans. I’m currently working on the second book, with a third in mind. And considering I’m planning to break Alyraekas into two or three individual books, the series could end up being six-nine books long, if the sequels are as long as the original. And they could take me ten more years. Heaven help me. It’s a good thing I’m as attached as I am!

Which of your works are your special gems? And what are your revision stories?

~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on September 13, 2015.

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