Thursday, April 9, 2009

Revisions Happen

Members of my critique group were discussing revisions. Sometimes it can be so frustrating to have something that you think is just right being torn apart by well-meaning readers who just don't share the vision you had while writing it.

The things is that I don't think anyone writes a perfect first draft. And sometimes it goes way beyond first draft - to second, third, fourth, fifth drafts. And on and on.

I know it's happened to me. When Mike Kissed Emma is the final product of many many revisions. Four of them in fact after I thought it was ready to submit. Two of those complete revisions were at the suggestion of an agent (who eventually passed) and the last revision was based on suggestions made by my editor at The Wild Rose Press. And of course, it paid off, because a final version will actually be available to purchase as of August 19.

And even though I thought it was perfect each time I finished it, I have to admit that it got better with each revision.

So revisions happen. Don't be afraid of them. Let those revisions move your story toward perfection.


  1. Yay! I am so excited for you and can't wait until August 19th!

  2. Thanks, Beth! I'm excited too! And it just proves that revisions pay off!

  3. Yep, revisions happen...many, many times. :) Good advice.

    And congrats on the release of your book! That's so exciting! :)

  4. Thanks Tabitha, I'm very excited about the release of my book too - especially after so many revisions.

    And PJ - I'm so glad you like the poster. I should say I made it using - very cool site.

  5. I cleaned out my briefcase this afternoon. I actually used a vacuum to get the dust out of the nooks and corners. All of this is in anticipation of retirement and the use of the briefcase for something other than carrying my lunch to work every day. In the process of doing this, I came across an article I had copied from The New York Times from December 18, 2000 that was part of the Writers on Writing series. I think I haven't seen this series in a while, but the headline reads "Directions: Write, Read, Rewrite. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed."

    The article is by Susan Sontag. She starts out as follows:

    "Reading novels seems to me such a normal activity, while writing them is such an odd thing to do....At least so I think until I remind myself how firmly the two are related....

    "First, because to write is to practice, with particular intensity and attentiveness, the art of reading. You write in order to read what you've written and see if it's O.K. and since of course it never is, to rewrite it - once, twice, as many times as it takes to get it to be something you can bear to reread."

    She opines that "the love of reading is what makes you dream of becoming a writer."

    I don't know if you could link to this or find it in the Times archives, but I've got it so I'll give it to you when I see you. Interesting what you find in a dusty briefcase. I wonder what's in my desk.

  6. Dad, thanks for sharing that article. I'll have to see if I can find it to link to. And it should be very interesting when you get that desk cleared out. And don't forget - once you retire you have no excuse not to write your own book. :)

  7. UGH, revisions! I'm there now! My first chapter has been revised at least 15 times! WAAAAAA

  8. Robyn, I'm afraid to count how many times some of my things have been revised. :)

  9. Perfect advice! :) Does that pic say, "trite?!"--ouch! :) ...but I always think the brutally honest people who read and tell u what to change r the best. U may want to smack them, but they're for sure going to be effective!

  10. The picture does say "trite" - but I will admit this was kind of a staged picture - since most of my revisions are done on the computer now. And I had the lyrics from Snoopy's "The Great Writer" going through my head - where he calls a sentence "pat, flat, trite".

    But once we get over the idea that the first words we put down are perfect - it's amazing how much better things can get.