Monday, September 26, 2011

Revising, cause I can.

So far, in my very limited experience, revisions are somewhat painful and yet, at the same time, gratifying.

What’s the deal with this dichotomy?

Drafting is laborious, but creative and exciting. You’re meeting your characters for the first time. You have many moments of self-congratulatory exhilaration as your plot weaves into brilliant chapter after brilliant chapter. You smile and pat yourself on the back. You dream about your book and characters. Every song you hear is your protag’s song. You finish your book with a sigh and shed a little tear. It’s brilliant.

And then….

You begin to revise. Or, ahem, in my case rewrite. Because it’s awful. Horrible. How could you have ever put those words on that paper. What were you thinking? So you rewrite. You suppress your gag reflex and overwhelming desire to just throw your digital copy in that little virtual trash can on the bottom of your screen. And then throw it away…if only to hear the gratifying digital sound of crumpling paper.

But then…

You rewrite. And while it’s painful, it’s also cathartic. In what other world can we start over? In what world can we delete awkward pauses, poorly worded conversations, terrible name choices? Only in our worlds can we do this.

And we rewrite and we make it better. And this, my friends, is what it’s all about. This is where ART happens.

So I continue to revise. I cringe at my previous brilliance and forge ahead. Cutting poetic lines and adding smart dialogue and always, always getting rid of that (the actual word that—I’m littered with it).

SO, my HUGE overwhelming question to you is this: How many times to we have to endure re-writes until it’s RIGHT?


  1. This is the evolution of my manuscript:

    Planning: OMG best idea EVER. *plan plan plan*
    Planning->Writing: I don't want to write this, I'm going to ruin it, Waaaaaaaaaaaah!
    Writing: OMG drafting is so fun lalalala YAY WORDS WORDS WORDS! *write write write*
    Writing->Revising: I don't want to revise, it's good enough, can't I just query like this, waaaaaah!
    Revising: OMG I'm making this super awesome, it's so good, I'm awesome *revise revise revise*
    Revising->Querying: But what if no one likes it, it sucks it sucks it sucks I can't do this.
    Querying: OMG FULL REQUESTS I'm going to get 2343787 offers of rep! YAY!

    So basically, I love things when I'm doing them, but otherwise it's scary. COMMIT.


    *ignores all the almost-boyfriends growling in the background*

  2. Taryn,
    Love your experience as always. I've not yet got to the query yet...though I'm sure I'll be super nervous and decided I'm the worst writer to ever put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

    Want to hear about almost-boyfriends. Especially if they growl in the background. How romantic.

    An Abundance of Pats?

  3. Hey, Emily! I gave you an award on my blog today. Stop by if you get the chance.

  4. I love this post! It's so true that while revision can be such a pain, it is that magical second (or forty-seventh, or what-have-you) chance to do things differently, which we rarely get in REAL LIFE.