Some authors love the revision process, but I have to think they love it like people love exercise or spinach—they have to do it, so why not make the best of it? I’ll admit right up front, I HATE revisions.
I’m in the middle of that process right now with a short novella. I don’t often get to the end of a novella unsatisfied with what I’ve done, but this time I attempted to write something a little more hardcore erotica than my usual fare. Okay, so some of you will be asking how the hell can she do that? Do you remember the scene in Saddled?!
Well, this one is more hardcore (even if the sex is still my smutty brand of unrepentent porn) because it’s more heavily invested in BDSM. While I slammed away pages of what my main couple were doing, I failed to show their growth as people and their growing affection for each other. I may write some raunchy stuff, but I don’t ever forget that these characters have to feel real and most real people have emotions that complicate their individual journeys.
I’m trying to go about this methodically so that I don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by the work needed to spank this puppy into shape.
1) I handed the story off to Beta Readers (test readers) who know how I flow. These readers knew I needed them to be very honest about whether they liked it or not, and the fact that I knew there was a problem. I asked for them to tell me if they could put their finger on what was missing because at that point I was too close to the work and couldn’t see it .
2) I took their comments, ruminated on them for a while, then passed the story to my crit partner for her thoughts. She came back with “a Dom wouldn’t do this” and “this was too much narrative” along with some very clever suggestions for rewrites.
3) I opened a fresh document, starting again with that pristine white page, and cut and pasted what I felt could stay in the that first scene, and then began to craft new words around that flawed bit of narrative, working at layering in more dialogue, more of the emotional reactions of the characters, and looking for the humor I’d sadly forgotten completely.
I have a very long way to go to make this one publishable, but I will take one chapter at a time through this process until I get to the end. Then I will send it once again to my Betas for a sanity check, and to my critique partner for her thoughts. Who said writing had to be a solitary effort. For me, it often works better if I have that frigging awesome village at my back.