I [heart] Revision

I finished the first draft of my short story for QueerdFiction’s anthology earlier this week. That means that currently, all my projects (the short story and two novels) are in the revision phase. And I couldn’t be happier.

I think ultimately I’m more of an editor than a writer, because this is the point at which I really start getting excited about my work (well, that is, after the initial excitement that pushes me to put some words on the blank screen at all). I notice that my self-talk changes at this stage, too, from “I have to work on my writing now” to “I get to work on my writing now.” I’ve come a long way from the teenage writer who was dismayed to realize that, after having written something, I’d have to write it again. (And again, and again . . .). These are the reasons I love revision.

  • The hard part is over. The screen (or the page) is no longer blank. Now you have more to work with than your attempt to translate your brilliant thoughts into an equally brilliant piece of work.
  • Every time you sit down to revise, you’re reminded of your stunning accomplishments: I wrote this!
  • No matter what you have, it can only get better with the revision process. It’s like polishing a gem, or, in the analogy used in NaNoWriMo, shaping a hunk of marble into a beautiful statue. Except when you revise, if you accidentally chisel off the nose, you can put it right back on, and no one is the wiser.
  • I love to read. Most writers do. And all revising is is really, really hard-core reading.
  • I like the puzzle that revising presents. Yesterday I was editing an scientific ESL (English as a Second Language) manuscript, and at first I was daunted, thinking that scientific text is hard enough to read when it’s written by a native English speaker. But as soon as I got in there, I found myself really, really enjoying it.

So, I’m off to enjoy some revising now.

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4 Responses to I [heart] Revision

  1. Jenny says:

    Ooh, this is something you and I SO don’t have in common! I love editing other people’s work, and actually have to hold myself back from just revising their story and sending it back “fixed,” but my own stuff–ugh! My own mistakes grate on me, and how in the world are you supposed to know when you’re done? I could stay trapped in the revision phase forever. In fact… 😀

  2. Yes, that *is* the ugly side of revision, isn’t it? The temptation to stay there forever . . .

    I get the impression that you are a first-draft-high kind of writer. You should bottle some of that so I can pound out first drafts worthy of revision faster. 😉

  3. Jenny says:

    Totally–I can fly through a rough draft like nobody’s business. Though I have to say, I’ve really like your Nanos–the ones I’ve read, anyways.

    If we could BOTH bottle our writing energies, we could sell them as a matched set, like salt and pepper! 😀

  4. Ha, I love that idea! Maybe it would make us rich enough to become full-time writers. 😉

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