Monday, March 14, 2011

The Big Picture

I really need to read my book.

I've been hit or miss with revisions lately, which means that each time I go back to it, it's a struggle not to go back and read parts I've already worked, to edit and edit and edit scenes I've already picked apart. But I just realized, while working on it, that it's been a loooong time since I've read the whole thing from start to finish. I've been revising now for almost a year - longer than I spent writing the first draft. I'm sure I've read the whole thing in its entirety in that time ... or haven't I?

It's been so long I don't remember.

That's a little scary. I know the story so well that I'm fairly sure the individual parts still fit together as a cohesive whole, but I think now - now that I'm close to having produced a critque-ready draft - I'd better stop, take a breath and be sure. Take a look at the big picture. Kill a tree, unfortunately.

(That's not just me, right? Do other writers find there's a great difference between reading your work onscreen and reading it on-page? I know in this age of the Kindle a lot of reading is done onscreen, but when it comes to my own work, I see it differently on paper. Little things I didn't notice with the cursor blinking somehow jump off the printed page. Plus, I don't get distracted as easily. Word changes I'd be quick to make on-screen I'm forced to read past, live with ... if I sit down with a stack of pages and get comfortable, I've got to really want that edit to bother reaching for a pen.)

Anyway, I know this seems counterintuitive. I've had little time to edit lately, so on one hand, it seems silly to interrupt those precious few hours by rereading what I've already done. On the other hand, though, seeing how far I've come might be just what I need to motivate myself to finish.

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