I have been working on a revision that, in part, requires me to go from first person present to past. You would think this MIGHT be a very easy exercise, but of course, like all changes, it is not.
This morning, after deleting a huge chunk of the text, I thought about exactly what this one directive was doing.
It forced me to take a tiny step back. Past tense offers a bit more reflection, a bit more distance. As I go through the manuscript, some of her spur of the moment musings seem self indulgent. Now I have a greater sense of what she is going through at that moment.
But changing one thing, just because, made me read DIFFERENTLY. It was like going from the Scrivener to the document, from the document to the printed page, from my office to the coffee shop. Because I was changing one thing, I began to read differently. And this made me see the story in a new way.
I always find the revision process–or what I call the “re-imagination” process challenging and interesting. For this manuscript, one change has lead to many changes…many revelations. I am excited about what I am reading and the emotions I am expressing. There is or was a story to be found….and with one change, I am pretty sure I’ve got it.