Monday, March 19, 2012

Revise, Revise, Revise

Writing is a process that never seems to end. There's the initial writing where I figure things out but it's just a fuzzy glorified outline. Secondary writing comes next and then it can be called a first draft. After finishing the book it gets revised a second time. A few days later a third time. Only then does someone else read it and when they're finished I incorporate their critique. Any time a new scene is added or a scene rewritten the process starts over. I may feel inspired at random times to revise in addition to the above. At times I want to pull my hair out, but I want it to be the best it can be. There's a story that illustrates my point. I read it somewhere but I forget where. I'll update this post when I find the source.

A writer made a manuscript and thought it was pretty good so he sent it to publisher. The publisher replied with a note, "Is that the best you can do?" So the writer looked it over again, revised it, and sent it a second time. "Is that the best you can do?" So the writer revised again and sent it a third time. "Is that the best you can do?" The writer finally said, "Damn it! Yes it is!" The publisher said one more thing, "Then I guess I'll read it this time." No one wants less than your best.

See Useful Problems for how all these repitions make the story stronger. When it comes down to nuts and bolts, however, you may just want to find an editor. See Editing; Professional Help or Not for more information and self-editing tips.

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