Saturday, 9 January 2010

How to Revise Your Novel --new review

My Christmas present to me was Holly Lisle's latest course : How to Revise Your Novel.

Learn how to revise your novel.
Get the novel you WANT
From the novel you HAVE.
Find out more

It was too tempting to resist.

If I could get even half way towards the novel I wanted from the novel I had, I would be delighted. The book I want to save, working title Dangerous Decisions, has been languishing in limbo for two years.

I decided to make a dangerous decision of my own to see if I could salvage something from the hours and hours invested in this and previous flawed nanowrimo novels and because Holly promised no pressure. She also seemed to know and understand how mind-numbingly dreadful revision is for someone like me.

Another reason I chose this course is that I can take it at my own pace -- I won't be dropping out because I can't keep up.

I hate revision with a passion --I tie myself and my story into Gordian knots you'd need a steel scimitar to slice through and end up with the whole thing in scrappy little knotted strings of plot that can never be woven together again.

I spent a few weeks worrying about whether I had the nerve to start on week one while my fellow students were racing through their worksheets and baying for more.

But so far --and remember I am still on week one working through a chapter a day --the Holly Lisle system is a revelation.

My first drafts -- and I have five languishing -- are all chaotic. I repeat myself, I have plot holes a jumbo jet could disappear into, and at some point -- usually around chapter ten -- I lose the plot completely. All efforts at revision in the past have left me hating the book and burying it under the desk.

Now I can homestly say I rather like this book again, I can see order emerging from the chaos, some people I enjoy and some that need a bit more backbone. All may not be wasted.

Thanks to Holly Lisle and the enthusiastic companionship of my fellow students.