Revising Meet the Larssons, Day 1: The Horror, The Horror.

Tonight, I began the Holly Lisle One-Pass Revision Process on Meet the Larssons.  I’ve got my spiral notebook, my pens, and my hard copy of the manuscript.  I’m 90 minutes into the process, and my brain hurts.

I’ve heard or read about Holly’s method from a few sources, most recently fellow Absolute Write forum denizen Amy at The Purple Patch, who just finished revising her novel using this method.  In a little over two weeks.  With surgery in the middle.  I looked for some indication on her blog that the “novel” she was revising was a 24-page picture book, but the descriptions — and the photographs she posted — suggest an ordinary length adult novel.  Darn it.

I can promise you that I won’t finish revising MTL in two weeks; my goal is more like two months.  I have the manuscript printed out and sitting on the desk in the study.  It’s 500 pages even, more than five centimeters thick (the only ruler I could find is a metric-only High Sch001 Musica1 ruler, which someone must have given my daughter; I’m surprised it’s still in one piece, because she hates HSM). It is somewhat daunting.

Tonight, I did the steps that come before tackling the manuscript itself.  The first step was writing down a brief theme for the novel.

Yeah.  Because in high school English class, my favorite part was finding the theme of whatever book we were supposed to be reading.

But since I’m the one who wrote the damn book, I ought to be able to tell you what the theme is without having to work at it.  This part should be easy, right?

Heh.  It took me half an hour, although some of that was wasted looking for a Shakespeare quote that might have been my theme (but isn’t).

I also wrote down several sub-themes (including the Shakespeare quote, so that wasn’t entirely wasted effort), a one-sentence statement of what the book is about, a one-sentence story arc for the main character, and one very bad paragraph describing the story (or at least describing what I expect the story to be by the time I’m done with the revisions).

Enough dithering.  I finished the first draft on October 8, 2008.  Time to hack it to pieces.  This weekend, I start what Holly so aptly calls “The Manuscript Slog.”  Hooray.

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7 responses to “Revising Meet the Larssons, Day 1: The Horror, The Horror.

  1. Ha! I feel for you. I just finished the major revisions on my novel, THE GATEKEEPERS’ CHARGE. I did not use Holly’s one-pass revision plan, because frankly, I started revising before I ever heard anything about that…maybe next time.

    I wish you lots of luck and look forward to following your progress. :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by and the good wishes, B.E.

  3. Theme, what’s that?

    Kidding. But I understand your frustration. I was tackling the conflicts/subplots yesterday. Seemed a bit of an academic exercise when the bulk of them were variations on the same.

    Oh well!

    Good luck….

  4. Ralph – I am not (as you can tell from reading this blog) the most introspective guy on the block; that would be Introspective Artie, who lives down the street. Writing the novel has been a bit of an exercise in plumbing the previously unplumbed murky depths. Finding the theme to the stuff I dredged up was actually less painful than I expected it to be. But my brain still hurts.

  5. Bless you, theme-finding is harder than panning for gold, and far messier. Good for you for only taking half an hour – you don’t even want to know how long it took me. :)

  6. You’ve brought back bad high school memories bringing up theme.

    Good luck on the revisions, I don’t see how anyone could do that in two or three weeks. I think your estimate is more realistic.

  7. Amy – I didn’t say I got it right.

    Mike – sorry ’bout that. Believe me, mine are worse.

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