Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grrrrrr... Revisions

I've been cranky all week. (Didja notice? That was me cranky.) But I think the worst of the crankiness is behind me. Due to the fact that I have finally finished my revisions for my Golden Heart manuscript. Woot!

I hate revisions. My revisions are often self-inflicted and always necessary. They make the book better; there's no getting around that fact. But still, I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. (<- Bonus points if you can name the reference.)

I love the first draft. I love slapping inspiration onto the page. I even enjoy the second draft, when I'm tightening, expanding, tweaking, layering. Edits don't bother me one little bit, but revisions, or "overhauls" as I sometimes call them, are hell on wheels.

You thought it was so great when you slapped those words on the page. Shakespeare, Moliere, they had nothing on you. But then weeks (or months... or years) go by and you've had some distance, maybe even learned a few things about writing that you didn't know before, and you go back to take another look.

The horror! The agony! You actually thought this was good? This drivel? This adverb-laden, passive-voice riddled mess in which the word "somewhat" appears with alarming frequency (as if you were too gutless to actually have your characters do things all the way, they had to do everything "somewhat"). And it isn't just the prose that sags! Where is the internal conflict? Where is the dark moment? The plot?

So you dive back in, ripping out chunks. Reordering chapters. Tightening your language and trying to find a story arc in there somewhere. Clinging to the hope that there is something salvagable in the wreckage.

You come out the other side battered, bewildered, and scarcely daring to hope that the book might actually be decent now.

Bad news: It was bad. It was really, really bad. Good news: It's better now. I hope. And I don't have to revise it again for at least another few weeks. Dude. I hate revisions.

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