I'm using advice Madeleine L'Engle gave me. Personally.
You know those battered copies of her books like A WRINKLE IN TIME and/or A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT that are falling apart and should be replaced? My copies can't be replaced because:
In 1995 I attended a 30-person writing retreat with Madeleine L'Engle in Racine, Wisconsin. It was at the DeKoven Foundation, which pre-dates the civil war. Early on it was a military academy.
Mary Todd Lincoln visited after President Lincoln's assassination, to enroll her son. She didn't like the bed he'd be assigned, so she changed her mind. It was less than a mile from my house and the other buildings and grounds are extensive and beautiful and historically protected.
In October of 1995, I attended a small writing conference there led by Madeleine L'Engle. I finally got the guts to ask Madeleine how she revised. Here was her answer:
"I print the whole thing up and set it next to the computer monitor. Then I put a new, blank disc in the computer and I start typing."
"You mean, the whole thing?" I asked, "You type the entire manuscript all over again?"
She smiled and nodded wisely.
Madeleine L'Engle was my favorite writer. The highlight of the conference was sitting right next to her in the circle around the library room when she suggested we all hold hands and sing the Tallis Canon. She was wonderful and amazing and so incredibly brilliant.
But not, I figured, terribly computer savvy. That's probably why she had to start over every time she wrote on the computer. I was signed up for another retreat at DeKoven in 2005 (I think). I was the first one to sign up. But she got sick, and had to cancel. And then the world lost a super bright star when she died.
I was in New York last October. I took the subway to the Cathedral of St. John The Divine at 110th St. and Amsterdam. It was a pilgrimage to a place that was really special to Madeleine. Several of the letters she wrote me were on the cathedral's stationery.
THE YOUNG UNICORNS and A SEVERED WASP are both set there. She loved that place. I lit a candle and really good things started to happen for my writing.
Until a month ago, when my manuscript was dead in the water. A manuscript, mind you, which had interest from an uber-awesome editor.
So two weeks ago I printed up the whole darn thing, set it next to my laptop computer, and started over.
She was right.