The 7 Day revision. Easy steps to insanity.

I have had a managing editor from Simon & Schuster request my manuscript after a successful pitch, which I’m pretty excited about. I have until the end of September to submit it, which I’m not as thrilled about.

My main concern is making it match my amazing and tight pitch! Obviously it’s nearly there but it also needs a lot of tweaking and a few missing scenes thrown in. For the last few weeks I’ve been revising at a pretty leisurely pace, marking down errors, problems with scenes and characters and generally making sure my tone is on-point.

Now however, it’s crunch time. I have 7 days to get this baby up to standard. I started this process at my local library yesterday but today I’ve realised I need to be able to wake up and start work immediately, without having to worry about anything else. My lovely wife is preparing my meals (that I don’t get delivered) and putting up with me generally being grumpy and unavailable.

Here is a look at my process :


That was at the library anyway. You can see the mish mash of slow revision and fast revision there. The scene cards are from the slow revision, the structural edit to the side is from months ago, the big pile of loose leaf manuscript I printed out that day and the other books are a copy of my manuscript with markings leading to my ‘slow’ revision notes and workbooks guiding me through my fast revision. Later tonight I’ll be starting my writing, going through both my fast post-its and my slow revision notes to get it ‘right’ on the fly.

Oh yeah, last nano I started writing the book again from scratch. That’s the printout with the yellow bulldog clip on it. I’ll be using that as I need it while doing my write-in. Everything until the last two days will be done in pen, after that it all gets typed up! Then my wife gets to read it and make notes, and I get to read her notes and alter the manuscript again based on her insights (where I agree that I was being stupid).

Here is my setup today, now that I’ve moved everything to my bed:


As you can see, it’s a little more cramped but I also have my cat with me (trying to stay out of shot in the upper right corner). Plus I get to annoy my wife by constantly brainstorming with her and getting her to reassure me I’m a creative genius.

It hasn’t been easy this past few weeks anyway, what with a hail storm partly flooding our lounge room and office causing the lounge to smell of mud and dry rot and our electricity to cut out for a day. My poor cat, who my book is about, got side-swiped by a car as well, and I couldn’t write a thing for the two days he was at the cat hospital and we were unsure if he would make it. Here he is being brave with his little bandage:


And here he is back home soon after being an absolute sook on anti inflammatory medicine and methadone patches:


He has the bandages and patches off now and is actually eating so I don’t need to feed him food with a syringe anymore. This has helped my ability to write greatly!

I’d better get back to marking up my manuscript; I only have sixty pages to go and then I can really begin to go crazy with the rewrite. With luck I’ll get it all finished on deadline and without being arrested for streaking down my street screaming about plot holes.