I hate revisions.
There, I said it.
Not all the time, but when I do, I really do. I’m not talking about proofing or polishing a piece, I’m talking about re-visoning the piece, rewriting it to quite an extent in the process.
At such times I feel as if the revision is a process of slow-killing the heartbeat that created the first draft, till all that remains is the dead body of the final piece.
Of course, this is not true.
If the final piece is not alive and cannot cry, feel, waltz, swear, laugh its way into the reader’s heart, then that piece is not worth creating. Which is why the revision process has to be vibrant, not soul-destroying.
Recently, while ‘re-visioning’, I’ve taken to using index cards. I know most people use it for plotting the first draft but I find it works equally well for tearing a piece apart and putting it together again to create an altogether different beast.
I take the story, then:
– divide it into scenes,
– put each scene on one index card,
– shuffle them around.
I keep in mind what the story lacks: impact, pace, show not tell, and accordingly change the order of the index cards, change what I’ve written on them, write new ones, and tear off a few.
This not only helps me have a good over-view of the story, it helps me imagine different scenarios without going to the trouble of writing them out. In the process, I can still flutter around, do my day-dreaming while I’m getting my revision done.
The result, I’ve found, has more flow and resonates better with the reader.
Have you ever used index cards for revisions?