The Frame-Up

June 5th 2018

The Frame-Up - Bookcover

The Pain and Joy of Revisions

Life is one revision after another.

We crawl, we walk, we run, and sometimes if we are lucky, we fly.

Writing is no different. You come up with a great idea. Well, it seemed like a great idea, but then as you begin to write you find yourself stopping and starting, wondering “Who thought THIS up?” So you tweak it, turn it over, check its soft underbelly for weakness, discover it IS weak and begin again. Or change something. Or both.

You finish a first draft and think “This is the most brilliant story the world has ever seen. They might as well give me my Newbery Medal, my Oscar, my Pulitzer right now.”

A month later you read it again and think “This is unsalvageable”, but of course, it almost always is salvageable so long as you have the heart and the willingness to tear it all apart, move the pieces, throw a good chunk of the pieces away, and allow the true story, the one that needs to be told, to come out.

Revising-cartoon

 

When I first began writing, I was dogged by the twin enemies of excellence in writing: I thought I was a good writer and I was lazy.

I’d been told all my life I wrote well. Well yeah, but there is a huge difference between writing well in everyday life and writing well so your reader doesn’t want to put your book down.

And of course I wanted to get it right with draft one. Wouldn’t we all love that? I hang my head and admit to the rookie mistake of sending my manuscript to 5 agents before it is was ANYWHERE near being ready. I was shocked when I was rejected. But I shouldn’t have been, because the book was crap.

But I learned. I took courses, I got critiques, and I wrote and wrote and wrote. So long as I could think of a way to make it better, I tried. Only when I couldn’t, did I try submitting it again.

Apart from the reality that NO ONE is going to agree to publish your book until it is the best it can be, we  always have to remember who we are doing this for: the reader. They deserve our excellence. Anything less is a vanity project.

Can you tell I am in revising mode these days?  Well I am. I always will be. And I am glad.

Anyone else revising anything out there?

 

 

Author of Children's Literature

×