Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a four-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Round Rock, Texas, with her husband.
One lucky commenter will receive a copy of her latest release, The Year of Living Scandalously!
Revisions Make Me Mad
Seems like writers either love revisions or hate them. I have never known a writer who was ambivalent about them. Are you? I have writer friends who believe that the revision process is where they actually write the book, and that everything that has gone before was merely getting a framework on paper. I know other writers who labor over the first draft of a book and get it as near to perfect as possible, so that when asked to revise something, they take umbrage.
I used to like revisions. When I first started publishing, I learned a lot from the revision process about the construction of books, pacing, and dialogue. I have always written drafts that I thought were complete, and as a baby writer, I was eager to see what a fresh pair of eyes thought was missing or needed to be restructured. I can honestly say that I have never had an editor that did not improve my book.
But then I grew up from baby author to a full-fledged, published -a-bunch-of-books author, and now I don’t like revisions. Not because I find them any less helpful; nothing could be further from the truth. Every revision to my manuscript improves it. I don’t like them because I try to improve with each book, but I still miss things, I still learn how I could improve things, and I grow impatient with me. I am no longer eager to find out what an editor thinks would make the book better. Now, I am eager to see what what I should have caught and didn’t. Bah, humbug.
I have, however, learned some new techniques in constructing my books because of revisions. I now start a draft with the framework. I don’t try and make the book perfect in the first draft like I used to do. I try to make sure I get all the elements down. And then I go through and do my own set of revisions. I let myself have it. I write things like “duh” and “already said at least 5 mil times,” and “good stuff—who wrote it?” Haha. I try to be that fresh reader and see what is missing, what needs to be changed, what doesn’t fit. It’s like working on a giant floor puzzle. Sometimes the pieces are big and easy to fit together, and sometimes, there are a million little pieces that all look alike and I can’t figure out where to fit anything. One of these days, I will get it right.
Until that day comes, however, revisions are a necessary evil in my line of work.
How do you feel about revisions? Are you good at them? Would you rather slit your wrists then go back to the book you’ve been writing forever and change it One. More. Time? Would you rather revise than draft?
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