Revision. The word was feared by the denizens of my imagination. It meant something just beyond the horizon—a swath of jungle filled with horrible noises and shadows that reached for ankles.
This, of course, was because I had never seriously revised. The main motto I heard and in turn repeated was kill your darlings. (That’s right, small jungle village, one day your children will perish in The Revision. Say your goodbyes now.)
And, if we’re being honest, I didn’t want to put on the work gloves and pull up the weeds of side trails and disappearing characters. Their flowers were too cute, even if they were silently choking the beef tomatoes of my story. So I would do one of two things: leave the village to slowly spiral to chaos without a set of laws, or send in an earthquake to start from the ground up.
I’m writing this post as more of a statement to myself: try something new. Set a foundation for the denizens. Hold a free election. Open a bagel shop. Let them thrive with boundaries, and show them that the tiger in the thicket was a kitten all along.
This includes consistency with character development, the world and magic rules retaining common sense, and an especially sharp review of the beginning and end of the draft. Only when you are satisfied with these key items (and a few others) can you continue to nitpick the village quality, and go for the more finite details.
Don’t feed your village children to The Revision. Make it a holiday instead, and celebrate that you’ve finished a book and are ready to tear into it again—and turn it into something better.