Recently, a writer friend of mine listened patiently as I whined about revision. The problem is you don’t do any real writing during revision I told her. Revision is a different beast entirely. It is sometimes gentle but mostly it is violent. For me it involves radical slash and burn, touch choices and bold destruction. Removing 6,500 words is stressful. I still have two chapters to go and they need major surgery.
Her suggestion was have a little fun and take a mini-break from revision! Take a scene you never wrote because it didn’t move the story along and write it now. Mix well with clichés and silliness, and let the results flow onto the page. You don’t have to worry, she assured me, because it will never see daylight. It will never be in your novel, and no one but you will ever read it.
I loved this exercise. I knew exactly what scene to write. Suddenly, I had the chance to expose a good, levelheaded MC to opportunities she would never have in the novel. Taking her to the crossroads and watching as she veered down the other path was exciting for her and funny for me. I let my good character behave badly and my evil character spread some cheer – instead of fear. My wild folks galloped over the top scattering double entendres in every direction. I learned there is always another way to steer a story and, maybe, while the telling is different, the result can be the same.
Exploring the what ifs is liberating. I’m actually temped to have some brave soul read it. Just for fun.
How do you refresh your mind while traveling down the rutted road of novel revision?