Trenches of Revision, Part X

This is my last revision project for the year, and thus, my last entry from “the trenches of revision.” MATTHEW is the sequel to STEPHEN, and it’s essentially a ghost story.

It was the last rough draft I wrote entirely on paper (and I was amazed I could actually read my own handwriting) and after I wrote it four years ago, I didn’t look back at it until just recently. It was also the very first thing I had ever written that was not based off real life events or real life people. It came entirely from my imagination – and that’s why it’s still one of my favorite novels.

I noticed a lot of boring parts that I was tempted to skim over as I re-read, characters that could be combined or eliminated altogether, and terrible dialogue. But now that I’ve revised the story’s prequel, I have a better idea of what I can do for it in order to make it better, although that will end up changing probably about 80% of the book.

I’m also revising this one with a different process than I had used for other books. I found out that it helps me to write a very long backstory (what happened before the events of the book) before I can write about what happens in the present. In the backstory, you can establish character relationships and motivations a lot better, and pinpoint the dates and years on which important events happened.

And I’m recycling an old character from CAIN, a novel I had stopped writing. I think this old character would work a lot better in MATTHEW, and so far, my thoughts have been correct. It makes me happy when stuff like that happens. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Trenches of Revision, Part X

  1. It can be hard to re-read old work, sometimes painful.

    It’s been a LONG time since I hand wrote anything. That’s actually a very depressing thought 😦


    • Because they’re all biblical names and I try to have somewhat of a biblical allegory in each one. And they all take place in the same town, so they’re somewhat interconnected.


    • Thanks, Maggie. I suspected a biblical connection, but didn’t know they were set in the same town.

      Makes sense. Prolific writers often use related titles ~ e.g., Sue Grafton (A is for Alibi . . . ), and John Grisham (The Appeal, The Brethen . . . ) as a “trademark” of sorts.


  2. Interesting. I like it when stories interconnect. Makes it seem more like real life
    . 🙂

    Writing by hand can be very satisfying. I’m starting a new project and so far I’m writing with a pen. A very nice fountain pen, in fact. It’s quite pleasant.

    I remember when Sue Grafton’s first book ca.e out. I read an article where they asked her what she would do when she got to the end of the alphabet. She said Z would be Z is for Zero and then she would do numbers.


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