Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Words on Wednesday: Revision

First off, thanks to Katie Clark over at The Ramblings of a Cancer Kid Mom for the Sunshine Award. I'll accept, post, and pass on that award this Friday. Thank you, Katie!

Next, I'm being interviewed over at Rate Your Story today by the fantastic Miranda Paul. Head on over and check it out! She had some fun questions for me to answer. :)

(edited to add: Due to some blogger issues, this interview may not be available until later today. Sorry about that!)

It's funny, I've been so busy with revisions that I completely forgot I had this interview today. It took an email from Miranda to remind me. Isn't that sad?

Most of the time I hate revision. I don't know why. Maybe my head gets tired trying to figure out how to repair massive plot holes I (somehow) totally looked over before. Maybe I get overwhelmed with the need to cut, cut, cut. For the first time ever (and now that I FINALLY got through the middle portion of the book that was holding me up) I'm actually enjoying the revising. Maybe the longer you work at it the more rewarding it is to CUT that unnecessary bit of description, or that superfluous bit of dialogue, or that really unimportant character out of your manuscript.

Or, maybe as you get closer to the climax of the story, you're just so excited to see how thrilling it is that you hardly notice the revision process at all. I don't know. But for the first time ever, I'm having FUN!

What are your thoughts on revision?

As always (sounds like a letter, doesn't it?),


God bless!


  1. Cat, I get what you're saying, after editing and revising 3 novels until I can't see where I could possibly revise them any more! But that's not true. I learned from my historical novel, now in the hands of a publisher, that having to revise according to what an editor wants is the worst kind of revision. Plus, oh my, there are many things you find...rather, They find...that still need editing. So no matter how much you do, when your editor gets hold of it, you'll be doing more ! Courage, cat LOL

    1. I know. I already see another revision ahead of this novel. Hopefully, nothing TOO severe! :)

  2. Wow,

    I had no idea you had the same issues with revision as I do, Cat. Mostly because you're often the first to tell me when I might be getting too down on myself.

    Like you, there are rare times when revision is fun, and for me that's when I finally get why something doesn't work, for once I get why, it's not so hard to get rid of something or change it.

    A lot of what drives me nuts about revision is not knowing what the problem is, far more than the revision itself, well, except for my word choices being picked apart. That can be frustrating since there isn't always a simpler word to stand in for the "word people think will drive kids batty" and coming up with a metaphor or simile can be trying at best.

    Or finding a way to solve the problem without making what I am doing right suffer, and lately the problem is getting the reader to get why certain things matter, without giving away too much, too early, because I also do that out of fear no one's going to get why X plot point or character matters in the big picture.

    While no one likes info dumps, I can't imagine any reader likes being left in the dark even more than the characters may be, wouldn't you say, Cat?

    So, often knowing when to say what and when is often the biggest hurdle I have to jump over before things start clicking for the lay beta-reader.

    For me, when beta-readers tell me "I don't get this why this matters" it's more troubling than hearing "X scene has to be cut" because if I know WHY, and enough people bring it up, it makes things more clear.

    Since I don't think analytically about plot in general, it takes lots of rewrites to address the issues involved there, and I'd like to think that my understanding of characterization is partly to blame.

    You can see things so much through your MC's eyes (Which IS important too!) that you need new eyes to see where pacing and plotting gets shortchanged.

    I'll be pulling for you as your revision progresses, please do the same for me as I'm drowning in tricky work on my WIP.


    1. Definitely will, Taurean. I read through your post and I was like, "Yup. That sounds like me!" We're pretty similar, I guess, in how we write. :)

  3. I'm in the midst of revision, too. It's daunting to take a "finished" work apart, but once the new plan takes shape it's such a good feeling. Even as I struggle with some elements of the story, I know the revision will make the story much stronger. I actually can't wait to see how it turns out!

    1. I'm getting excited the nearer I get to completing it. I just can't wait to be done with this revision. This was the big one. The rest will (hopefully) be easier.

  4. I have a love - hate relationship with revision. :-)

    1. That's exactly the way to describe it. LOL

    2. Angelia, give yourself some credit, you know how to "Move on to the next book" far sooner than me, and while I don't regret taking the time, I really wish not every book I write takes a DECADE to not bore/unfairly confuse people.

      You also had the courage to self-publish your books, something I still can't bring myself to do, and frankly, can AFFORD to do it the way I feel is best, and if I can't give my books the design and clean read (i.e. Edited by folks more through than I can manage alone) I'm frankly still at square one.

      Part of the point is retaining creative control of design the like, right?

      While Angelia and Kelly were able to do this on low/no budget, I don't see what I can pull off all on my own.

      So, I'm at a standstill.

      But anyway, Anglia be proud, you did what many are too afraid to do, even if they could afford a copy editor, illustrators, and jacket design for print books.

  5. {Oops, I tried leaving my comments just now but somehow it didn't get through. So I clicked 'Publish' several times. Hope I haven't spammed your comment box, Cat!)

    I'm in the midst of revising my next PB and I know how it is: during revision, there's a heavy, heavy cloud, like a fist settling in, plunging down our heads. Characters, setting, conflicts, pace, rhythm, dialogue, climax ... tying things up fully. But after a good round of revision (despite knowing there WILL still be another and another), the satisfaction of a good day's work is still ... quite delicious. :) Good luck with your revision and interview. Can't wait to read the latter!

    1. Good news, claudine. No spam. :D

      It's really only the first round of revision that I don't like. There is always SO much work in it. The other revisions are much more mild.

  6. I have a sick fondness for revising. I think it's the English teacher in me. I get out my bright pink pens and my colored post it flags and I go to town. I love to revise in print because I pick up on so much more and I can use my pretty post it flags, which litter my manuscripts. :) You should try using them, Cat. They're fun, pretty, and they help me mark passages of time, major events, and other things I need to keep track of while revising.

    1. I should try the coloured pen technique. That could make it more fun. Maybe I will. I LOVE the post-it idea too, marking passages of time and major events. Great idea.


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