Required revision tool: Deadlines

I love deadlines. I’ve said this here before, but having a due date for something makes a big difference in whether it gets done. Especially if it’s something that’s not on my list of favorite activities.

Like revising. A month ago I dusted off the novel I finished last spring and dove into the revisions. Revising a book takes me longer than writing it. It’s where all the cool ideas I had halfway through the writing process need to get incorporated back into the stuff I wrote before then. Characters get combined or deleted. Fight scenes get written. Details like how, exactly, that magic spell works get figured out. Giant plot holes get asphalted over. It’s a lot of work. [1]

Once I get going I gain enough momentum to keep going, but getting started? I’d rather write the first draft of the next book, thanks. This is where deadlines come in.

Deadlines are the only reason I started revising this book instead of continuing to work on the next one. First, I need to send something to the crit group every month, and I’m running low on new short stories. Second, the writer’s forum I’m on is having a contest–so I needed the first 50 pages of the book and a synopsis by yesterday. All I did this weekend was sleep, exercise, and revise, and I’ve got the beginning done. [2] Now I just have to keep going…

[1] This is why I’ve gotten obsessed with planning. Imagine knowing all that stuff beforehand and not having to clean it up later! That would be so awesome.
[2] For values of done that involve plot stuff, not all the fiddly setting details, character feeeelings, or nice prose. So not done at all, actually.

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