There is no question most writers enjoy writing but not editing or revising. It’s a simple fact that the creation of a story is more enjoyable than the repairs of that story. I see it as having and raising a child.
Pregnancy, labor and delivery are not exactly easy but through your sweat and determination you have this beautiful creation. Perfect in its newness, its innocence. It is love at first sight.
Then comes the hard part. The guiding, the lectures, the tantrums and frustrations. The times you want to throw up your hands and give up, go running from the house. But you don’t. Because this is your baby and you want it to be all it can be. It’s love. It’s dedication. It’s a total reflection on YOU.
As is the story you write… and must revise.
Revising, to me, is like dealing with a child’s troubling teenage years. It’s a test of patience and of love. A time when all the beauty and innocence you saw and felt at that first stage, comes back at you as if your input was a vile, unappreciated thing and must all be undone. It’s a battle of wills and understanding. Emotional standoffs grounded by love you know is there but cannot hold quite as closely as before.
And then, suddenly, there’s peace. A sort of understanding and middle-ground-met. A balance of your vision for your child and your child’s vision for her or himself. It’s that respect which allows your child go into the world armed with the ability to stand alone and make you proud.
The difference between all that and revisions is time. You have nearly two decades to work with your child and while revisions may seem as long, they, in all honestly, should not be. 😉
Mine however, have gone on longer than the writing itself. To be fair to the writer in me, I will acknowledge that the editing process has gone well throughout the story. It’s simply the opening which stumps me. And after several revisions of that opening, I’m still not happy.
I have now set a deadline. By this Friday my opening will be good or it won’t be. Either way, I will be sending queries. It’s up to me – and my muse, of course – to decide whether those queries will be for work I’m proud to call my own or work I’m embarrassed to put my name to.
So, for much of this week, I intend to read. Oh, how hard that work will be. You can imagine a dramatic sigh here. I will read openings from some of my favorite authors – like Nora Roberts, Lisa Jackson, Jude Deveraux, Linda Ford, Kate Pearce and more. And I will see how and why their opening pages work. And then, filled with the wisdom and motivation of those I admire, I will revise my opening pages and send them off into the world to, hopefully, stand on their own and make me proud.
I just bought myself a NOOK. Cousin to the Kindle. I couldn’t wait to hold it in my hands, to turn it on and start reading.
The first book I downloaded was Jude Deveraux’s, Lavendar Morning. The second book I downloaded was Jude Deveraux’s, Days of Gold.
Sense a pattern?
I was concerned about purchasing the NOOK. Well, not about purchasing it, but about using it to read my books. I love cuddling up in the corner of my sofa with a cup of tea and a great read. Would I feel as connected to the story with an e-Reader? How could I? You can’t bury your face into it, you can’t smell the pages and you can’t fan through them either.
But so many of my friends are E-published and I wanted more than anything to take their books with me wherever I went so I could snuggle up and read. The NOOK surprised me. It’s not at all like reading a book via my laptop. That’s like working. The NOOK is the size of a book. I bought a case for it that opens like a book and I can hold it in my hands JUST LIKE A BOOK.
I have since downloaded… uploaded? …E-books I’ve previously purchased and stored on my computer. Now, I can proudly scan through the covers of my friend’s books. I can choose which one to read. Again. And best of all, I can carry all of those books with me wherever I go. They’re all neatly stored in a tiny file somewhere on my lovely little NOOK.
No. I can’t smell the pages, but I can flip through them. I can snuggle up and connect with the story the same as if I held a paperback in my hands. I will never give up my hardcopy books, but I’ve already fallen in love with my e-Reader.
Oh. And the case I bought for it contains a wonderful quote by G.K. Chesterton that sums it all up –
Literature is a luxury;
fiction is a necessity.