However, my December 31 deadline is looming, so I resolved to start working on it again in October. I started the revision process last weekend, and have gone through a total of 10 (out of 201) chapters so far. On the one hand, that's not particularly good progress. On the other, I am starting at the beginning, and the early parts of the draft are the ones most desperately in need of revision. Much of the first fifty or so chapters were written in 1991, and a lot's changed since then.
Some of the revision on those early chapters has already been done; things that I realized early on didn't work and set about fixing back when I was still putting the draft together. But of the first ten chapters, eight were more-or-less the same as they were thirteen years ago. (The other two were "new" material, written in 2001).
I don't like the '91 scenes. I've tinkered here and there with them, hacking out descriptions that now seem superfluous (this person is only in the book for one chapter, you don't need to know what she looks like). I've redone settings that looked too generic. (Welcome to Fantasy Tavern #107. Here's your ale and your barstool). I wrote a major character into one scene because previously she didn't show up until chapter thirty, because when I was still writing the events of the book in order, I didn't invent her until I'd gotten to chapter 30.
But I still don't like the old material. I don't know if it'd be better to start over from scratch of not. Part of me feels like I'm biased against the poor novel; I've been wrestling with it so long that, good or bad, I'm not going to be happy with it.
Anyway, I'm not trying to make it absolutely perfect in this pass. My main goal now is to make it coherent and consistent. I am making line-edit changes, rephrasing this or that, but the marginal things -- "is this funny or just annoying?" -- I'm leaving alone for now. It'll probably need another pass (or two, or three) when I'm done with it this time.
But hey, it's a start.