Thursday, March 25, 2010

Does It Ever End???!!!

I recently finished round one of revisions.

Hooray for me!!!! Right?

Wrong. Let's not break out the dancing banana, folks. I've still got about 7,000 rounds of revisions to go. I've got a whole lot of mess in my manuscript, some problems to deal with, and then there's my crit partners...what will they think?

I'm starting to think that this whole revision process will never end. You get little milestones along the way, sure...hooray, I finished the first draft! Hooray, I reached the end of the novel! But there's always more to be done. In fact, I've created an awesome MS paint rendering of the CYCLE OF REVISION to show you how it really is never-ending:

OMG my arrows are so perfect.

Notice that revision is on there TWICE, and that's just in one round. You write the book, you read it, you see some problems, so you revise. Then you let the crit partners read it, and they see lots of problems, which require major rewrites and revisions. So you revise and write again. Then you read, and notice more problems, so you revise. But by now, your story has changed a lot, so you send it to  your crit partners, who make suggestions (maybe not as many as before, but still a lot), which require revisions and rewrites, and on and on ad infinitum. Right now I feel like I'm tumbling around in circles and will never, ever get my story finished. *sigh*

But, eventually, it will be shiny and sparkly. It will be so shiny and sparkly, in fact, that it will be ready for the next cycle: the agent/editor cycle! This cycle is way less predictable, and therefore can't actually be cyclicle:
More perfect arrows! You guise, I win the arrow-drawing competition.

 So you're querying, and you get some feedback - maybe that feedback is in the form of constant rejections, or maybe it's actual feedback. Either way, you know something isn't working. So you revise. And you keep querying. Then you get an offer. Squee!!!!!!!! And your shiny new agent has notes on 26 of your 27 chapters. So you revise again. Then you go on sub, and guess what??? A publisher loves it!!! Except for chapters 3, 8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 22, and 27. Also, your main character should have a dog. Also, your love interest is too ugly, he needs to be cute. Also, a main character from the planet Zortab will never sell at Flourish and Blotts bookseller, because the CEO has a morbid fear of the letter "Z," so change that. 

But then, finally, after all that, your book is published. Your name is on a glossy dust jacket beside the likes of (insert your favorite author's name here...I didn't want to leave anyone out.) All of the months and years of revising and making up awesome MS paint renditions of revising maps were totally worth it because you have a writing career.

Well, sort of. At least, you'll have a writing career when you start on that next book. You just have to write it, then read it, then revise it...

Honestly, though, I do get discouraged and exhausted sometimes. But at the end of the day, that big pink PUBLICATION keeps me going. If there is even a chance that I could make my dream come true, it's totally worth it to me. I'll revise until my fingers bleed and my eyes get fuzzy from staring at my computer screen, just as long as I get the chance to make this happen. 

So, just how shiny can I make my MS? Let's find out...*dives into round two of revisions* (I fully expect to lose count of my revision rounds at some point, by the way. I've already lost count of the number of times I've revised the first 25 pages.)


  1. I'm with you. I just finished round can't-keep-track, and I'm discovering I'm headed back for another! Argh! :-)

  2. I'm right there with you. My CP just pointed out a couple plot holes, so I'm burning the midnight oil trying to get them patched up. We'll get there! :)

  3. I'm right here with you too. It appears to be a never ending cycle.

    We'll get there. We must :)

  4. Love your charts! Hang in there!

  5. OMG Heather! When you tweeted to me I totally missed that you'd finished a round of revisions as well. Yay you! I LOVE your charts =)

    Good luck with round two!! I honestly don't know what number of revision I'm on (maybe like 6?) but I'm hoping it's my last one!

  6. Yikes. And to think I just started my first rewrite ever. *stares down long, endless tunnel of revision doom* Looks like I've got my work cut out for you.

    Great arrows by the way. ;-)

  7. I couldn't help but crack up... only because I could feel throughout this post how many revisions you feel that you have already done!!! Good luck working through all of your MS I'm glad to see you're enjoying the little triumphs still, that's important!!!

    By the way sexy arrows!!!

  8. Great post. I love it and your charts. :) And congrats on making it through this round.

  9. ooooh sooooo true! It never ever ever ever ever ever ever ends...but you have to love it anyway:-)

  10. Just popped over from Unedited. I feel your pain. I attended a writer's conference last year. The keynote speaker started his speech with the quote, "To write is human, to finish is divine, to revise is hell." I laughed and then got a little teary eyed thinking of the umpteenth revision waiting for me on my laptop at home.

  11. ugh. i was thinking about that the other day. Then i was sad which translated into me thinking i'm a crappy writer. Ah well. Back to the grindstone!

  12. Heather--great post! It's awhile before I'm ready to start revising myself, but this post gave me plenty to think about.

    BTW, I included a link in my Friday Link Love post. Again, nice work.

  13. It's a good thing it never ends! Otherwise us book-crazy folks would have no' more revising to do and be unleashed onto the world! :) Great post. Thanks.


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