Growing into Revisions


On Writing: Another revision discussion. Can you tell I’ve been chin deep in them? Actually, I think I’m finally ready to tie a bow around them and call them done. I hope to read the m/s through today and see if my revisions work. If they fit together into one cohesive story. Because you know when you’re in the middle of the torn apart, rearranged mess–nothing makes sense and it all starts sounding like crap. So, now that I’m done (crossing fingers that I’m done!) it’s time to stand back and read it and hope it came together even better than it was. It’s funny because sometimes I find that it’s during the revision phase that some of the themes and and echos of theme get layered in. Not always consciously. By the time we’re in revision mode we know our story and characters so much better then when we first started writing, so some of it just falls into place.


Yesterday I was thinking about one of my favorite writing quotes:


“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”  – Neil Gaiman  <— This. 


Speaking for myself, when I was a new wide-eyed romance writer I thought my writing was awesome. I mean, not perfect awesome, but close, you know? Oh, poor little newbie writer. (Shakes head at the memory.) So the first few times you have people read your stuff, and they mention what isn’t working for them–you explain it- as if it’s great, if only they would “get it.” Thankfully, I learned. I studied craft. I read more. I learned not to take criticism personally. I learned to understand that if a reader says something doesn’t work for them then it’s my problem as a writer, not their problem as a reader.


Maybe we baby writers need that “my writing is awesome” feeling to carry us through the process of writing the first book. I don’t know. All I can say is thank goodness for the learning curve that has thickened my writer’s skin so I can stand back and look objectively at what I write and accept when something isn’t working. Next after objectivity comes confidence. Confidence to know when to revise because of a reader’s input AND the confidence to know when it’s okay to leave it the way you want it. The way you need it, understanding it may not work for every reader. (Pfft. Like anything does anyway, right?)


That’s where I am on the learning curve- gaining confidence in not just my own writing, but in the process of writing. And not just “the” process of writing, but “my” process of writing. Accepting that keeping all my “darlings” is sometimes counterproductive to achieving the best possible story I can write. The more I write, the more I learn.