But now, baby, I have time. Two weeks of it, in fact (well, one is already over). So it's back to Ye Olde Novel. I don't think I was prepared for the amount of work this would be! And how tedious it is! For background: I originally wrote this novel in 2006, almost a decade ago. I did revise it, but not very well. It got a few complimentary rejections that said in the nicest possible terms that "your plot is original, but your writing sucks."
And it's true! It does suck! Some people say that the best thing to do with your writing is to put it in a drawer for six months before even thinking about revision. Well, I've had this thing in an effective drawer for something like six years and all I can say is... they're right. Even though I remember writing it, and recall most of the plot, it doesn't feel like something I personally wrote. Which means I have no compunctions about ripping the thing to shreds. I've already blasted my way through a third of the thing, rewriting some sections completely but mostly just leveling up the writing. As I said on Twitter, it's like I'm writing a completely new novel using the old one as a blueprint.
As for my method of rewriting/editing, it's line by friggin' line, all the way. One screen with the original novel in Scrivener*, where I make edits, and a Word screen where I paste my edited words and make any changes that only reveal themselves post-transfer. When I finish, I will scan over the "completed" manuscript before sending it to readers. And then I'll have to make even more edits! It never ends.
I do worry that my fierce cutting will damage the novel's marketability. How could I not be worried about that? The original draft was around 72k long, but I'm cutting out much more than I'm adding and I doubt the final draft will come in at much more than 65k words, which for non-YA science fiction published in 201X is super short. Some books can deal with padding or multiple subplots, but this one really can't. It's just a lean little slip of a self-contained book. I guess I'll worry about that problem when I get to the "finding an agent/publisher" phase of the game.
When/if I write a second novel that counts, I probably won't sit on it for six years again. But there's a hell of a case for waiting six months.
*I do find it kind of hilarious that I bought this not-cheap program and use it essentially as another Word screen. As a pure "pantser," I basically don't use any of the special features that you're supposed to use Scrivener for. But whatever works, right?