So I enrolled in Holly’s course in November and started eagerly on my latest WIP, which I knew needed a ton of help. My typical revision process was to figure out what I needed to add or subtract, smooth out the edges, check for consistency and hope that fixed it. Needless to say it never did.
I knew Holly’s course was going to be intense, but I didn’t realize it was going to be *that* intense! It’s a 23 week course, work at your own pace, and she has a very deep, very detailed process for revisions that she compares to saving a person’s life – triage, creating a treatment plan, doing the surgery. Well when I started, I was raring to go, and jumped right in. My enthusiasm carried me through the first six weeks without a problem. And then I got stuck on characterization – the major problem I’ve had with this novel. And I was stuck for four months! Didn’t do a bit of editing, didn’t try to plow ahead with the lesson, I was done.
See, what Holly really excels at, is getting you to think about where you’ve gone off the rails, to really be honest with yourself and figure out where you went wrong. And I think there was so much wrong with my characters, that I just couldn’t deal with it. The resistance monster kicked in and I just. wouldn’t. do. it.
But finally, I put my butt in the chair, ploughed through the lesson and my novel, and got it done. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, and as soon as it was over, I could move on with the course again. I have to admit, I’m only about halfway through the course, but already it’s changed the way I look at revisions.
No more jumping in and just doing tweaking passes through – I know enough now to get into the heart of what’s wrong with the story line, or characterization or plot. Now, hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll learn how to fix it.
I know this totally sounds like an advertisement, and I promise it’s not. Especially since I haven’t finished the course. But I think even if the WIP I’m putting through this never gets published, it’ll be worth it, just to have that tool box of skills for the next one. By the time I’m done, I’m going to be SO sick of this story – I’ve probably already gone through it a dozen times and there’s more to come – but I know it will be the best I can make it. And that’s the goal after all.
Next week, I’ll share some of Holly’s high-level tips for targeting and determining what’s wrong with what you’ve got. (For the real stuff you’ll have to take the course).