I have a new special writing/revising trick. Starting with the first three chapters of my novel, I copy and paste them into a brand new fresh document, print, then edit/revise/correct/read-aloud/enhance/make-marvelous, etc. I throw the hardcopy edits into the brand new fresh document, then repeat the process with the next several chapters. I save the brand new fresh document as DUMMY, keeping my original in case I get too edit-happy and cut things I shouldn’t. And I do return, I do check, compare, contrast as my front teeth ravage my lower lip with angst and concern. But lately, my edits have been the right ones to make. This, I feel. A week later, revisiting the first few DUMMY chapters, I still feel. So I’m either obscenely deluded, or trusting my hunches and therefore impoving my heroine’s character, the plot and the entire work in general, becoming a cannier editor of my own work. This, I yearn for.
I call this process a trick because somehow transfering my novel, section by sections, into a brand new fresh document seems to make everything—including what I’m making the boy for dinner and what I’m going to wear to the poetry reading and the latest developments of String Theory—clearer.
DUMMY! You are mine. I see you. Don’t try to get away. I’m keeping you forever (and reserving the right to future edits…).