An update post. I’ve started work on revising Magestone. It’d been off with crit partners/betas for a bit, and I got the last of those back recently. The last time I’d saved the file was October 29, so it’s been a while since I’ve looked at it. This is a good thing, really. After ten weeks I still remember how the story goes, but the writing itself has lost its familiarity. I read through the story and I recognize it, but it’s much easier to read what’s on the page, rather than what’s in my head.
This is my seventh pass of revisions, and hopefully my final. And yet I’m still making moderately-large changes to the manuscript, even after this many read-throughs. Primarily at this stage I’m rewriting a couple of sections to strengthen character motivation. This unfortunately requires building the dialogue from scratch in a couple of places, though in others it’ll just be the insertion of a line or two.
The rest of it is just tidying up the writing a little more, something I do a bit of on every pass as stuff jumps out at me. Stuff that sounded perfectly good on pass four is now sounding a little corny or stilted on this one. I sometimes wonder how I’d feel about it if I left it for a year… But I’m sure I could tinker forever with it, leaving it for months then coming back, then leaving it again. At some point you’ve got to set it free – Heinlein’s third and fourth rules. So when I get to the end of this, my seventh pass, I’ll go back and re-read those new sections and if I’m still feeling good about them I’ll call it done.
As wonderful as the anticipation of finishing is, the best thing about starting this pass of revisions has been falling for the story all over again. Even after so many readings (probably four full start-to-finish, and a few partials) I still love the story as much as I did when I wrote it. It’s a wonderful feeling.