Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Half my life is an act of revision. ~ John Irving

If you've been following me on this blog you are aware that I'm working on the third revisions of my novel, which for me is not fun. I know some folks really like the revising part because they know where they are going. But as far as I'm concerned this revising thing is for the birds!

I actually love the first draft where all my ideas are awesome.  Each day all I have to do is get my butt in the chair and fill up the blank page. Who cares if it's a muddled mess with no clear direction? I am getting words on the page. I'm being creative! Each day holds so much promise as my characters and I romp through the day sharing our thoughts, hopes and dreams with each other. We laugh and converse back and forth day after day, until we reach the end. Then everything changes.

After that fun of getting it all down the real work begins... revising. Day after day I must put each page under the microscope and exam it for flaws like a CSI technician. I spend days, weeks, months, looking at the same words, pages, chapters, over and over trying to make sure I have everything in it's proper place and it's proper order. Then, when my eyes are about to fall out of my head and I know each page by memory, I send it out to my critique group only to find out that while I was micromanaging my comma's I completely dropped a story line from the third chapter, or some other not-so-simple thing to fix. So now I have to go back and revise some more. I believe Jewish author and rabbi Chaim Potok was right when he said: I think the hardest part of writing is revising. And by that I mean the following: A novelist has to create the piece of marble and then chip away to find the figure in it. Sometimes I want to take a stick of dynamite and blow the figure out. But alas that would destroy the entire work, so I continue on with my micromanaging until the figure is free. And to think I'm doing all this revising and the story hasn't even been scene by an editor or agent yet. Oy vey!

Revising makes me feel a lot like Revenge's Emily Thorne, played by Actress Emily VanCamp, in this Time Warner Commercial. I just want to bang my head against the door and make it stop.



How about you? How does revising make you feel?

10 comments:

Nick Wilford said...

It can be hard to keep up that enthusiasm of the first draft when revising. I tend to send mine to CPs in a pretty raw state (which they might not always appreciate - sorry!) because I'm usually clueless about what needs worked on, or I have a hunch and would like it confirmed. I need guidance for revisions. It is exciting when it's getting close to something you're happy with, but whatever way you do it, it's a long slog!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Revisions are my favorite. Make you a deal - you write my first draft and I'll revise for you.

M.J. Fifield said...

While I'm not a fan of the actual revising—that commercial is the perfect example, by the way—I usually loves what comes out of it.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Thanks,Nick. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one *slogging* through it.

Alex, you've just made yourself a deal! Can I send the pages over now? ;-)

M.J., your comment encourages me. I need to remember revision is like dieting; I need to think of the end result.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

Most interesting to read. I recall when I had my poetry books published I had to go over the poems alike a fine toothed comb for spelling and other mistakes, that was the part I didn't like, I am hoping to do another book next year ....surely this must be punishment. lol.
Yvonne.

Jo said...

So long as the end result is read by lots of people, this is surely something you need to convince yourself is enjoyable.

Regina Gort said...

You can do it! I feel your pain. I am in the midst of a revise too!

Marcia said...

Revisions are my favorite. Sometimes I suffer through the first draft!

Old Kitty said...

Totally hate revisions - because it's jolly hard work and you totally see the FLAWS - and they ain't little ones either! LOL!!!

Oh but I do know the end result is worth it - totally and utterly! GOOD LUCK with your revisions! Take care
x

Lynda R Young said...

I don't mind revising. I used to hate it. Don't know why that changed.

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