Throughout this whole experience I've learned a few things:
1. A critique partner (CP) is invaluable.
Awhile back I was of the mind that a CP was a nice idea, but not really that crucial, despite what everyone had to say about this. In retrospect, I think this was just me not dealing with the fear of putting my work out there for someone else to read. And there's always a bit of apprehension sending it off to somebody you only know online. As it turns out, my CP has made this process both painless and very productive. My WiP is way better for it, and I can only hope I'm returning the favour. I have a penchant for repetition—Elodie points this out. I seem to have a tendency to break up the narrative with unnecessary details—Elodie points that out too. I'm so close to this bad boy that I don't even notice this stuff any more.
2. You can always cut a few more words.
When Elodie approached me about becoming CPs, my WiP clocked in at roughly 120,000 words. Talk about a bad case of the blathers. Oh, and I still wasn't done! So, so terrible. I thought there was no way that I'd be able to shave off at least 20,000 words (I was aiming for 100,000. Divergent by Veronica Roth runs about 105,000 words, so I figured this was reasonable-ish.) without having to cut out some pretty important stuff. Wrong! Once I got going, between Elodie's suggestions and my own realization that I was being redundant and ridiculous, the word count started to drop rapidly. Why use two when one will do kind of became my mantra as I pounded that delete button over and over again. Last count (we're still not done) my WiP was at 102,000 words, which is nothing short of fantastic. I Freaking ♥ My Backspace Key.
3. I can learn to love my WiP even more.
I'll admit, sometimes I get reading this sucker and I think: Ugh. I don't care. I'm sick of you. (*makes raspberry noise*) Lately, I'm finding things that I really love about my WiP. Part of this comes from my CPs excitement/enjoyment of reading my story for the first time. I'm too close to it. I struggle to have these same reactions to it any more. But while I've been revising, I've revisited whole chapters that I haven't looked at in a while. I've found myself cracking up at things I intended to be funny, swooning over scenes that were meant to be steamy/romantic, and actually liking the way I've worded certain phrases. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, I'm just saying my WiP isn't the colossal turd I was starting to fear it might be. (Sidenote: Reading books by Laini Taylor, Stephanie Perkins, and Veronica Roth can have that effect.) Coming back to your WiP with semi-fresh eyes is a great experience—like being the reader instead of the writer for a change. The thing is, if this beast gets published I'll have to go over it multiple times, so I darn well better like it.
I've learned way more than just these three things, but they're probably the biggest. How about you? What kinds of things have you discovered during the revision process?