Monday, August 20, 2012

Revision hell

Okay- there is slush pile hell, submission hell, and so on, but I've been stuck in revision hell, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel like I've been running with this porcelain figurine (my WIP), and every time someone critiques it, they drop it, and it smashes into a million pieces. I pick up the pieces and put it back together, but in a different shape according to their suggestions. The problem is, not all the pieces flow together smoothly anymore and while I like the improvements, I'm not sure what it is anymore.

Next Monday I meet for the second time with my writing group, and we've been emailing each other every week with our progress. One of them volunteered to read my manuscript and has given me some much needed encouragement. Thanks to the editing of Barbara Watson, I saw my grammar was not too far off base, which was my concern as well, since I'm one of those that just goes by what sounds right vs. being able to actually explain the grammar. That's how I learned Spanish, so I guess it's served me well.

This post is going to be short and sweet, because I've had a long day driving the kids around to school, ballet, orientations, etc. Just an update on my writing life- Where are you at lately? And how did you survive the revisions? Or the critique process? Please don't say you wrote it perfectly the first time because I just may have to hate you.

19 comments:

  1. Hang in THERE, girl! I was right where you are a few months ago. My manuscript was like a patchwork quilt of everybody's input. So I stepped away from it for FIVE months and came back with a new perspective--my own! But, I did take into account all the things that others (agents actually) had said and made my revisions accordingly. Step away from it. Write something new. Breathe. Then go back to it...because I know you love it enough to keep working on it until you get it right. :)

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    1. I'm taking your advice and working on a short story right now. I see I'm not alone, and I'm glad to hear your experiences.

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  2. Keep at it, I rearranged the chapters in my story after attending a writer's conference, and felt lost in revisions for a while.

    Don't get discouraged, get stubborn, and don't listen to too many conflicting voices. It's your book, consider the feedback, but don't jump to every change suggested. Have confidence in your story. Good luck.

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    1. I'm still in the learning curve, but you're right, I can't apply all the advice. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes what one loves another hates! In the end, it is my story.

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  3. I never write it perfectly the first time. Just don't hate me that I enjoy the revision stage!
    You'll make it work. Don't give up.

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    1. I hope I'll love revising someday too.

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  4. Bless your sweet heart! I'm in the middle of it myself right now... And it's KILLING ME... Lol... I, like Alex, do enjoy it or the most part, but there are times when it's SO HARD to know which direction is right... When so many opinions contradict.. That's when gut comes into play--and really, I've found that the best tool ever :)

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    1. I have to learn to follow my instincts. I'm still learning, but there is no shortcut, that I do know!

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  5. This is very timely for me. I'm about to jump into revisions based on CPs' input. This is the first time I've done it with outside suggestions... and really, I've found I need it because I have very little grasp on how a first draft reads. I do think we need fresh eyes on things, but I do need to work on trusting my gut too! Where there are differing suggestions, I think you would need to look at what seems to fit, or incorporate a bit of each... sorry I'm not a lot of help. :)

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    1. Those fresh eyes are the key. When I've stared at something for so long it no longer has meaning, the outsider looking in can give me inspiration. Glad I'm not alone!

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  6. Hang tight pretty lady. (: Remember you have the final word so don't feel like you have to make all the changes or take all the suggestions if you're not 100% okay with them. I'm in the middle of revisions too but I only have one person giving me feedback right now so it's pretty easy to sort through. Some days I fly through the revisions, and some days it looks like a mess and when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, I take a break from it and do something else, beta read someone else's MS or do some leisure reading...the next day things look a little better. (:

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    1. You've said it exactly! A day or two off is the best thing.

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  7. Writing something perfectly the first time is a wonderful dream, but that's all it is. I'll spare your hating me because I'd never try to tell you something like this!

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  8. Revising right there with you...one CP sent me notes last week; two others expected soon.

    And feedback is tough, sometimes downright harsh, and makes you feel like you can't write much less tell a decent story. Listen to the feedback that 'feels' right and disregard what doesn't. It's YOUR story. Time away from your work gives fresh perspective, so give yourself that time away. As Linda said...write something new in the meantime. It will help more than you know. I have two complete middle that helped me learn but will not be queried. The one I'm writing now (and which stands the best chance of being THE one) began as a lark while taking a break from my second story.

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    1. Oops. That should read "two complete middle grade novels that helped me learn..."

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    2. In a writing book I read and recommended recently it said everyone needs to put in their 10,000 hours of writing to be good at it. It will not come easy, and how true this is becoming. Who knows how much of what we write will never see the light of day, but it is all part of the process to make something worthy of being noticed.

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  9. I can totally relate to this. I edited my book. It went through the rounds with the CP and beta readers. Queried my CP's agent. She rejected it after reading the first 50 pages and made some suggestions. If I agreed with them, I could resubmit. She didn't want to read the entire thing and ruin the surprise. Since I agreed with the majority of changes, I not only edited the book, I tore it apart. It went to the next round of beta readers, all who had read it before. They gave their feedback. Things were looking good until I sent it to a published author. She tore the ending apart (and several other areas). I rewrote ending. Another beta reader who had read the book before complained that I changed the ending (though she did like some of the changes). At this point I was ready to scream. Yet a different beta (who had read it before) reread it and didn't like the change to the end that the other beta liked. (Are you lost yet?)

    I recently sent it out to a bunch of agents waiting for it. One gets back after reading the three chapter partial and said the mc isn't empty enough. My CP and beta disagreed.

    So, yes. I understand revision hell!!! ;) Now I'm just waiting (nervously) for the agent who initially asked for the changes. :P

    Hopefully my story makes you feel better. :D

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    1. Yes! That sounds familiar. What one person loves, another doesn't get. You start running in circles and are left scratching your head.

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