This makes count number two of times I've talked about Frankenthings on this blog. If anyone's keeping track.
We finished our creative writing class last night and turned in our portfolios of work completed for the class. Part of the portfolio work was to revise the two pieces we workshopped during the semester. Let me tell you, revising the first two chapters of my WIP when I'm only seven chapters into the thing anyway was...bizarre. It messed with my mojo a little, but I think it was a necessary practice. It forced me to do research earlier than I would have, which has helped shape the plot of the rest of the story. It's also saved me a nightmare of revision work trying to incorporate those changes throughout an entire WIP (instead of just seven chapters of it).
Still, it felt a bit like I was turning in a Frankenbaby. I haven't yet extended my revisions through the other existing chapters, and I've cut up a lot, added a lot, moved a lot around, and changed a lot. In my head, as the manuscript creator, the story is a patchwork of plotlines that have evolved over time but haven't necessarily been updated. I've toyed around with revisions before, but I've never shared a revised work with anyone, and frankly I've given up on revisions more than once because I got so fed up with the process (JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE). So handing in something that felt that hacked up was...weird.
Still, the process taught me what is probably the most important lesson I've learned in writing so far: letting go of perfection. What I see/expect in my head and what actually comes out on the paper are two different things, but the reader doesn't know that. This can go both ways (another important lesson I learned) (also, don't be gross), but it can work in your favor - the reader only knows what's on the page. They don't know what you feel like you left out, or what you meant to do with the character but forgot about, or how you wished you could have more accurately captured the clothing descriptions. All they know is what you give them, and they don't know about all the Frankenbaby scars it took to get there.
Although when I think about it, it still sometimes seems like a lawn that someone's done one too many donuts on.
What about you? Does revising make you feel as if your story is falling apart? Do you struggle to keep up with all the loose ends? Or do you thrive on the thrill of the cut?