*cue backlighting and sparkles and choirs of angels*
Revision is where the magic happens, right? Where you take that undefined lump of clay that is your first draft and mold and carve it into a masterpiece.
Problem is, one run-through never provides the kind of glimmer and shine that will get a manuscript through the mill and out into the world.
Not even close.
There’s the first revision where you fix any major problems, obvious typos, plot holes, etc.
Then the second one, where you do all that again, but better and more in-depth.
Then there’s the third draft that comes from incorporating beta-reader notes.
And the fourth draft that comes from incorporating more beta-reader notes.
And then maybe a fifth draft that comes from incorporating agent notes.
And, if you’re lucky, maybe editor notes.
And copy-editor notes.
Revision is where the magic happens. Where writers prove their true grit. It’s something we all must aspire to revel in and adore.
Well, I call foul!
Revision isn’t magic. It’s work. And it blows goat cheese.
I've tried. Really, I have. But sometimes I suspect writers as a whole try and make revisions sound a lot more fun than they are because, well, they're such a huge part of the writing process.
I admit, however, to being one of those unfortunate writers whose creativity caps out in the makings of that first draft- where characters surprise me and the story elates me and I can revel in that indescribable feeling of power and awe over the words I’ve pulled from the etherlands and put together to form something that didn’t exist only weeks ago.
Going back over those magical words, and realizing they kind of suck? So not as much fun, imo. Don’t get me wrong, big changes I can handle. I don’t mind writing new scenes and rewriting old ones.
It’s the little things that drive me crazy. A character quirk here, an over-used expression there. The same word spelled wrong a million times. A slow in the pacing. A confusing feature that you can’t seem to explain right now matter how many angles you tackle it from.
And spelling. And grammar. And punctuation. I want to stab them all in the eye. You think you’ve got something down pat, but then every person who reads it has a different way of doing things. Even books and websites disagree.
And so you fix it, and you fix it, and you FIX IT! But it’s never right. You read the same scenes over and over until you wonder why you even wrote them to begin with. Changing just a few paragraphs feels like you’re walking through thick mud. Every word weighs heavier and heavier until you can barely lift your fingers off the keypad.
And you think, how in God’s name can anyone enjoy this? It’s absolute torture!
Yet, I see other writers who get all excited about revisions. They post about their rewritten chapters, and their dropping word count, and their gleaming prose. And I sit back and scratch my head. Are they in denial?
Maybe something’s wrong with me. Never in my life have I woken up and said ‘Gee, I can’t wait to revise today!’ Of course I feel fabulous once it's done. Because, well, it's done.
But for me, revision's always been a necessary evil.
Like bathing my children.
I mean, am I weird? (don’t answer that) But am I the only writer out there who doesn’t think revision is a magical ride through musical valleys of accomplishment and glee?
Is there anyone else out there who thinks it's one of the most tedious and laborious of activities of being a writer?