Monday, October 7, 2013

Revise, Rewrite, Repeat

Barring any unexpected items that creep into my writing time, I should have the first draft of my current work in progress (WIP) finished by the end of this week. It's a long time coming. I've been working on this manuscript for approximately eight months, though not consistently which is why it's taken so long to complete.

Yet I know when I finally type "The End," it still isn't really completed. The revision/rewriting process begins. It usually takes me two, sometimes three, revisions/rewriting passes of the whole manuscript to get it ready for a beta reader to look at it. Then there is another round of edits cleaning up things the beta reader(s) remarked on.

Some people prefer the initial writing process over doing revisions, but I'm the opposite. An author is quoted as saying, "You can't revise a blank page." I'm paraphrasing here because I don't know the exact quote or the author. But in any case, I completely agree. It's easier to change what's already been written than it is to get the words down on paper in the first place.

Some of my favorite authors have said they write really crappy first drafts. It makes me wonder how much revision/rewriting they do once they finish that first draft because their books are so well written, so engrossing that I get lost in the story and usually hate to see it end. (Or we have vastly different definitions of what a crappy first draft is. :o) )

One thing is for certain, anyone who writes for publication whether it be a novel, short story, essay, poetry etc. knows that revision and rewriting is a huge part of the process. Some people look at as a necessary evil, something to be dreaded but done. I look at it as an opportunity to make a good story a great story. And when you finish a book I've written, I hope you'll think "great book" as you close the back cover.

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