It has been 72 days since I typed “The End” in my work-in-progress—RAGING TORRENT, the third novel in my UNDERCURRENT Series. I feel like it’s time to open it back up and see how time has treated the rough spots, how the bruises are healing, and how those pinholes in the plot have opened up like sinkholes in my story. I would normally wait at least three months before going back in, but I think I’m close enough. There is no set time and no correct point in the process where you should start revising, so I’m going to give you three reasons to prove that now may be just the right time for you.
- ASSOCIATIONS: You start seeing, or noticing, things that remind you of your story.
You see, to me, this is probably the clearest indicator that you’re ready. While watching an episode of NCIS New Orleans, I noticed the character Patton Plame (Daryl Mitchell) was surrounded by computer monitors, cables draped from the ceiling, and just general computer “stuff” all around him. I thought, “That’s Destyn Albright!” the lovable sidekick of Phelan Maxwell in Undercurrent. Destyn is the computer grub. He’s the comic relief, the supportive one, the carefree, and smart-allecky one. But when I saw the somewhat disorderly computer setup around Patton’s desk on NCIS, I immediately jumped right to the image I have of Destyn’s room. Could this be a sign?
2. OBSESSIONS: When you lie awake at night and all you can think about is a twist you want to write into your story.
After several associations like the one above, the book that’s been marinating on my laptop started calling out in other ways. It’s been almost three months since I worked on this manuscript, so there could be no other explanation for why these things suddenly pop into my head while I’m trying to sleep. Would Ariana’s friend really betray their friendship? No, Gina would not do that. So why am I not making this clearer throughout the story? That’s something that I really do need to get back to, and now I want to get back to it. But not yet, because it’s the middle of the night. Maybe it’s time to open that manuscript and take care of some of these things.
3. OBSERVATIONS: People start mentioning, or buying, your other books.
So even after all those indicators, I still hadn’t given much thought to jumping into the revision process. I mean, revising is a LOT of work. There’s continuity, flow, logic, action, and all those things to consider, never mind the occasional typo and bad grammar! But then I discovered a new review (5-stars are the best, aren’t they?) had been posted one day, and then also noticed a slight bump (very slight) in my book sales, and then on two separate occasions, people asked about my third book. “Weren’t you working on a third book?” “Is the third book the last in the series, or will there be a fourth?” Seriously, dude? People haven’t seen your third book, and they’re asking about a fourth? What the heck are you waiting for, anyway? Alright, you’re not going to get a more obvious invitation. Get on with it!
THIS is the right time.