Tuesday, October 28

Revisions...




Confession? I’m not a big fan of revisions and I think I’ve finally figured out why. That’s not the confession, actually, this is: A little part of me hates to change a story I’ve written. Yes, I know, my words aren’t golden, and edits and revisions are a necessary evil in every author’s life. But you know, there’s a bratty little writer in me who just wants it to be perfect the first time and doesn't want to hear anyone tell her any different. 

Perfect. Ah, now there’s the real rub. Perfect is so not ever gonna happen. Especially from this writer, who has a penchant for backstory that makes her editor want to weep. Book 3 of the Women of Willow Bay series is in revision right now, and I knew exactly how rough it was when I sent to my editor. I knew exactly what she’d say, but I sent it anyway because I was so very done with the story. 

However, it’s been a good seven weeks since she sent it back to me and I’m ready to dive in again. Her comments are always spot on--yes, the backstory has to go. Start in the present—the right now—and let’s meet both the heroine and the hero in the first chapter. And you know what? I already like it so much better. In just a few pages, I’ve given my reader all the introduction they need to my heroine and hero, and now I can move forward with the story. I am amazed at the difference it makes. My writing is tighter with more emotion and action in just those first pages than in all the old beginning chapters combined.

It feels terrific to be writing and making progress. Why does that take me by surprise time and again? You’d think I would realize that what makes life work for me is writing, and that when I’m not writing, I’m not happy. How hard is that concept? I remember once that fellow romance author, Anne Stuart, once wrote on the Reinventing Fabulous blog, “Everything in my life is filtered through my writing. There is no me without it.” I need to remember that during the restless, unhappy times. It’s all about the writing.

How about it, writers? How do you feel about revisions? Do they make you crazy or do they make a better writer?

9 comments:

  1. I love revisions, and I've written this comment three times trying to explain why. I need an editor for my comments! But I think I like them because they are so definite--editors don't seem to offer multiple choice! Even the occasional digging in of heels is fun. Great post, Nancy!

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    1. Hey, Liz! Great point--no editors don't offer multiple choice, although sometimes I wish they would!

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  2. Revisions make me crazy but i absolutely love them. Crazy in the sense that I can't believe I didn't see the backstory dump here or the fact that i completely missed the chance to really dig into to the hero/heroine's emotional conflict there...that kind of thing. As I'm drafting, I *know* what is happening...I know the goals and conflicts and motivations and revisions from my agent and editor really help me see where what I know in my head isn't coming through on the page.

    Great post, Nan! Good luck with your revisions!

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    1. Hi, Kristi! Revisions are a great way to discover places that you've missed info dumps or not developed characters enough. It's funny isn't it, how much a good editor can get into your story and into your head?

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  3. I'm always excited about making my story stronger, and I can see why the suggestions were made by the editor, and I'm amazed that I missed it in my rewrite. The one thing that bothers me though, is that I don't remember most of what an editor advises when I start a brand new story. Ha ha.

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    1. Hey Roben! Thanks for stopping by! I know what you mean! No matter how many times Lani tells me not to, my first three chapters are backstory. She's come to expect to cut my beginnings every time!

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  4. This is such a great post! And excellent comments. I'm a newbie waiting on revisions for book 2. I really liked doing the revisions for book 1 because I thought my editor's suggestions made the story so much stronger. But it will be interesting to see how my feelings change and progress on this subject as time goes on... I love hearing the thoughts and insights and advice from more experienced authors!

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    1. Hi Carol! Glad you stopped by! Word Wranglers is a great place for newbies and experienced authors alike, so welcome! Yes, often, more often than not, editor's suggestions do make your story stronger--that's the best part of revising. I totally agree, just sometimes, I feel the weight of rewrites. However, letting the book rest a while always helps that!

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  5. Revisions don't bother me, Nan. I'm amazed at what my editor does to my stories and always find myself thinking, "I should of thought of that!" lol

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