I have finished my 500 words of revising for the day. Why do I revise 500 words at a time? I don’t. Well, I do…. Let me explain

The Problem:

When I write a first draft of anything I pour out a mess of terrible prose upon the page. My first drafts of books are terrible! But when I revise, I take the book 500 words at a time. After I have rewritten the book at least twice, I go back through and “spot revise.” 

I’m not saying this technique works. I haven’t sold a Middle Grade book yet. But it has helped me come close to selling a Middle Grade book, so I believe the method effective. So… why am I not “Spot Revising?” I’m not spot revising because the book needed work… and I thought it perfect… and I didn’t know what else to do. 

So, I write, word by word, 500 words at at time.

I do this because the waiting is maddening. I do this because I only get vague comments about what isn’t working. Your language is dated. The beginning doesn’t capture the reader’s interest. So my job is to make the story less formal and create a stunning-amazing-spectacular-beginning that will make every one love me and sell ten billion books! Yah, that’s easy. Yah, every writer knows how to do that.

So, I write, word by word, 500 words at at time.

The Story:

My wife and I just bought a house recently. The house is great, a cozy ranch nestled into a wooded bluff. It’s as if I have the Hundred Acre Wood in my backyard. But… the house isn’t perfect. It came with no dishwasher (which was a must for our family of 5). It came with no garage door opener (which was a must because of the harsh Minnesota winters) and it came with an outdated 1970’s decor (which needed to be updated on account of… I’ll be careful… my wife).

My wife is sending me to Sherwin Williams today. I tried and failed to paint the downstair’s wood paneling but the cheep paint washes over it. Indeed it looks terrible. So I am going to Sherwin Williams (a brand of paint that we have used in the past) to buy Alabaster White. I am dreading the concept of painting. I love this house, but I want to snap my fingers and have it be updated and perfect. But that isn’t how life works. Sometimes you have to try and fail, paint a room in substandard white paint before you try again, get off your rump, go to Sherwin Williams, buy Alabaster White, and start all over again.

The Solution:

Sometimes things are great. But sometimes great things are missing dishwashers, garage door openers, and white alabaster walls. And I can’t help but think that is what my agent is trying to tell me. Daniel, it’s great, but…

And, so, I write, word by word, 500 words at a time.

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