Friday, May 29, 2015
Revisions...OH....REVISIONS...How do I handle thee?
We all know this image....all to well.....it's how we feel when we are knee deep in the process of revisions. It drives us absolutely...IN.....SANE.
Here's the deal. We all get to the point where we think what we write initially is absolute gold. We're sort of blinded by these headlights of writing prowess where we think to ourselves "Holy hell. I am a crafting genius." Until you let someone else read it, and they say to you, "Hey, um...you've got some issues."
It's there, that the revision process truly begins.
So what do I do to handle this revision scenario? Well, a few things --
1) Hand your MS over to other readers.
Beta Readers, Friends, Colleagues, Agents, Editors, ANYONE and EVERYONE. The more feedback you can get on your writing the better. In fact, I want to give a special shout out and props to the beta readers of my latest MS for my new MG novel because they have helped transform it into something truly special. The key is, these people will be able to see things that you otherwise can't. They can point out repetitious words or phrases, plot inconsistencies, poor prose, etc. It all comes down to the "blinders" or "high beams" of writing that we suffer through during the first run of MS writing. We need that extra set of eyes. SO..BADLY. If you haven't gotten yourself one, two or three uber-awesome beta readers, get on that now.
2) Exchange MS - CANT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.
You've just handed your MS over to some beta readers, so what do you do while you wait for them to rip it to shreds? Why, you READ THEIR MS! I can't tell you how helpful it is to read other people's writings. Not only can you recognize common mistakes that you may be making as well, but you can also recognize key strengths that the other author is capable of doing that you can try to learn from. What better way to learn from each others strengths and weaknesses than by reading each others work?
3) Take a break
Going back to the fresh eyes bit. Your eyes need a break too. Once you finish your first draft..take a break. Then once you finish your first round of edits...take another break. Second round? Another break...THIRD ROUND...another break. Keep taking breaks away from your MS to keep your eyes and mind fresh. You want to go into it each time with a new outlook. Constantly ripping your manuscript to shreds will drive you nuts, and you'll end up most likely hurting it rather than helping it. Sure, it may take longer, but it is worth it in the end.
4) Knowing when revision are done
They are really never done. Sorry. LOL. I could say they are done when your book is published, but even then I know I will look at my own writing and say "God Dammit...I should have changed that." Revisions are done, when you can't stand to look at it anymore. Beyond that point, you will just end up hating your MS. Keep that love strong. It's your baby!
5) You don't have to listen to everyone's advice, but handle criticism well
The industry is subjective. We all know that. Everyone has a different opinion on writing and a proper way of doing things, but nothing is concrete. Well, certain things are, but you get what I'm saying. Ultimately, when you get notes back from an editor, or a beta reader, or whoever, you don't have to listen to every word they say. But take their criticism, and put it in your back pocket and think about it. Let it stew a bit before jumping to conclusions. Remember, they are only trying to help. And they can't help you by being all fluffy and nice about your writing and saying you are the greatest thing since JK Rowling. It's a constant work in process, and we all screw up and need improvements.
I know my other MG Minder bloggers are going to be writing similar entries so I don't want to write EVERYTHING about my process. Hell, I need to get back to my revisions for my latest book because I wan't that bad boy on submission..oh yeah, which reminds me...DON'T RUSH. The last thing I WANT to do is send a book on submission that isn't 100% ready.
Good luck everyone, and remember, BREATHE.
NO! IT WASN'T!