Revision is hard work. It’s just so difficult trying to pinpoint what is “off” and how to create the effect you want it to produce — the right images and moods and tension and so on.
But most of all, I think what’s difficult for me is pinpointing how each character should sound. Most of the time I can’t figure it out until I do . . . meaning I only know it once I’ve got it. So I struggle through every passage, mucking about in sentences until I’ve found a match.
Here’s one I came across today as I’m jumping back into revisions after a weekend off. It’s the kind that made me smile as I looked at the before (on my printed copy) and after (on my screen), because it shows I’m making progress. Hooray for that!
Dry, boring, lifeless passage with no distinct voice:
The adolescents had separated the moment they got to the beach, leaving Caprice to make a fast decision about which she would follow. Phil had wanted her, of course, and she’d given him enough of a nudge to get started on a few drawings. Wendy and Peter would have been an obvious choice, but Caprice found herself too jealous of Wendy at this point.
Sticky, fun, livelier passage with Caprice’s voice:
The adolescents had divvied up as fast as they touched the sand, forcing Caprice to choose whose shadow to be. Phil had wanted her, of course, but she’d given him a nudge of what to draw and sent him along, in no mood for coddling. Wendy and Peter were the obvious choice to stick by, but Caprice reeked of jealousy too strong to put up with herself near them.
As always, I’m sure I’ll be tweaking this more, but before-and-after shots definitely help me feel like I can do this.