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Moving = Revision?

I've been thinking (possibly because of the mountain of boxes slowly growing at one end of the apartment) that in many ways, preparing for a move is like revising. At least, my kind of preparing, and my kind of revising.

See, I am a packrat. I don't like throwing things out or getting rid of things, because even if I haven't used them in years, I am afraid I will want them later. (Which does on occasion happen. E.g., I held on to my high school notes for a few years after I graduated. Finally threw them out. A few months later I came up with a story idea that related to something we'd learned and I thought, oh, I could look up my notes on that... Except they were gone.)

I am also a sort of packrat with my stories. My ideas spin off all sorts of interesting sub-ideas about subplots and back story and world building and so on, and I don't want to throw any of it out, so I squeeze as much as possible into the book. (This, I suspect, is part of the reason I ended up giving up short stories. There was just never enough room!)

So when I'm moving, and when I'm revising, I have to decide what's really necessary. I don't want clutter in my new home, or in my book. With the moving, it's relatively easy--have I used it recently? am I likely to again? do I absolutely love it? can it easily be gotten again if I realize I need it after all?

With the book, it's a matter of getting down to the kernel of the idea. What was it that excited me about this story in the first place? What pieces are necessary for that basic story, for those themes? What pieces help support them? What pieces go rambling off in other directions that, as much as I might like them, just distract from the heart of things?

It can be hard. Sometimes I get to thinking that a story has to have a certain element, just because it was always there--when actually taking it out would hardly change anything, or it could be easily replaced by something more suitable. But taking it down to the essentials, saying "what is this story I want to tell, really?" and imagining I can use only that, often makes it completely clear what I don't really need at all.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
I'm exactly the same, both with moving and with revising. My mental trick for getting around my pack-rat attitude, where revising is concerned, is to tell myself the book will have a website with a "deleted scenes" section, where I can put all of the stuff that I liked but that I cut. I don't know if it will actually happen, but it allowed me to cut stuff without agonizing about it too much. So that was good.
Sep. 10th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
I've taken the "deleted scenes" approach with my editorial revisions, but it's harder with earlier drafts... 'cause sometimes I have to completely change stuff so that what I take out would be more like "alternate universe fanfiction" than "deleted scenes", which I cannot quite convince myself I'd put up. Maybe if I made a fake name, and did post it as fanfiction... ;)
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Yep. I, too, am a packrat.

I need to half-forget about things and be in a zombie state of sleeplessness and Who-Cares-Ism in order to sit down and carelessly hack away scenes and throw away old items in order to get it done.

Go get 'em!
Sep. 10th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Hee, love the pic! I get to that Who Cares state around the fourth or fifth revision. With the earlier ones I have to pay attention or I'd just make things worse! :D
Sep. 8th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
Lovely blog entry...now get back to work! LOL.

I am a die-hard packrat in all things. But when the bomb drops and civilization depends on soy sauce packets and sporks, I'll be all set.
Sep. 10th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
Hee! And I can supply the media (most of my packrat tendencies are for books, CDs, and DVDs).
Sep. 8th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
Good things to think about! I am a pack rat, too. I do not want to be one with my stories. It is always good to know what to let go of - sometimes hard to do - but knowing is halfway there! Thanks for the thoughts.
Sep. 10th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, I come up with all these ideas of how to approach my stories, but then remembering them when I'm actually working with them--that is the other half. :D
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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