Monday, January 07, 2013

What’s Revision Good For?

I know lots of writers who hate revision, and I know lots who love it. Including me. :) But, even if you love it, there will eventually come a time where you will want to scream if you have to revise one more word. :) It's inevitable.

I spent the better part of last year revising one draft of my WIP. Granted, it was a *huge* revision, which is why it took me so long to get through it. But I finished it, and then sent it off to my agent. After she read it, she called me up and proceeded to give me *another* long list of things that need fixing. So, I'll be doing yet another huge revision...oooooooh joy of joys.

But, you know what? I kinda knew it was coming. And it's not because I gave my agent shoddy work. Not at all. I worked my tail off and addressed her concerns to the best of my ability. She just came up with another list...something she's really good at doing. :) Which is exactly why I was expecting another revision. I mean, one can hope to be finished, and sometimes one is pleasantly surprised, but, for the most part, we end up going through our work over and over and over and over and...well, you get the idea.

Toward the end of our conversation, she said she knew how much work I'd put into this draft and was sorry that she still saw so much more that needed to be done. But I told her that I'd had no illusions that this was done, and kinda figured I'd be doing at least one more big revision. She paused, then said she was so glad to hear that because it meant I was willing to do what was right for my story, no matter how hard it might be. She said she's seen other writers take the easy way out, and it really shows in their work. Then everyone suffers.

With each passing day, the publishing world gets more and more competitive. We writers need every possible advantage, which means we need to work ten times harder than we think we do. It will show in our work, and it will be noticed by the professionals in the industry. So, when we hit that wall and run screaming from our stories, we still can't give up and let it be 'good enough.' Because it won't be.

I don't know about you, but I intend to start 2013 off on the right foot, and then I'm going to keep that momentum going--starting with this next revision. Anyone with me?


LM Preston said...

Well I do a lot of revising also. Only thing is I don't have an agent so it goes straight to 2 of my editors, after 3 rounds of beta readers. Since I'm a plotter, most never find problems with plot, but I have a whole slew of other crap to fix. And no, I don't like revising.

Kelly Hashway said...

I had a huge revision to do in the fall of 2012. It came from my editor though. And when I sent if back, I got more things to fix, too. LOL. Luckily, she liked what I'd already fixed, so I felt a sense of accomplishment and knew we were moving forward. So I'm with you. :)

A.J. Frey said...

Revision can be fun, but there comes a time when you've read the same words so many times that they feel memorized.

I put a nice little break of over a year between my WIP Iron Thirst and revisions, and I'm about to lift the red pen once more. Feeling very good about it. The distance has put me in a new perspective, and I'm hoping this round will be the last before I feel it's ready for the world.

Great post.

D.E. Malone said...

I admit I like revising. I'm at the point in one of my manuscripts where the revision notes have become pretty specific. Problems are easier to fix when it's that far along as opposed to the 'this character's motivation throughout the plot isn't ringing true'-type of comments. Those types of revision notes make me panicky!

Kiersi said...

I hate revising. I love writing first drafts and then I despise going back and trying to improve them. And yet... there is a feeling when you finish a revision like you just described: "This was a lot of hard work and boy is my draft better for it!" And you know there's still so much to do, but you're on the road to a publishable book and that makes it all worthwhile! Go Tab!

Unknown said...

I love revisions. :) I'm always amazed by the number of folks who aren't willing to put in the time to make something really shine. I get not wanting to do it (not everyone likes that step), but flat out refusing to do it is equal to saying your readers aren't worth it. :(

Anonymous said...

I don't love to revise, but I will when I am told. Although the more I learn about editing my own work the easier it becomes. I hate re-reading my stories though. The more I read the more doubt I let seep in. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I like revising, but I don't like explaining to others (hubby etc) about why it takes so long, or why I "just need to go over it again". I keep getting comments like: "But I thought you said it was finished."
So my new year's resolution is not to tell anyone it's finished.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind that i referenced your post in my Fun Fact Friday. If you do, just let me know. Thanks! Happy Friday