Thursday, September 8, 2011

You Still Have A Long Way To Go - Revisions

It is the wishful thought of all authors of never seeing revisions for their stories. You have worked so hard and the thought of someone telling you that "you have a few things to work on" is far from what one would hope for. Yet, revisions are a necessary evil and sometimes, as much as we hate it, the revisions may be a bit more than we would hope for. I am bringing this up because one of my authors is working through some serious rounds of revisions now on a project. She had asked if I really thought the story would be something that would be able to be submitted, or was the project so far out of the running that it would be better to start on something new. Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple.

In reality, until we see all of the revisions and that final project, we can't say for certain if the story would be ready. In the case of my author, these revisions go back to the first moment she first queried me.

This story, (which I did reject) had some interesting points to it, but in terms of the over-haul necessary to make it ready, I passed on the project. She later submitted an amazing project to me and while that story is out on proposal, we went to work on this first project. As I said, the story needed some serious over-haul. It really required a complete make-over so she went to work on it.

Although she did the revisions as we talked about, the story still wasn't quite right. She literally had the penduleum swing too far in the opposite direction. So, we went to find that happy medium between the first and the second story. This is where we are now.

At this point, some of you might be saying, "why didn't we just find that happy medium the first time around?" The answer is simple. We couldn't see the errors. The first revision was a real shift in story that the revisions we are working on right now just weren't apparent. I think of this is working with a piece of furniture you are reconditioning. Sometimes you have to take off several layers of old paint just to get to the real wood and see what you can do.

This happens and you should be ready for it. Now, as for her question of whether or not I can forsee if the story will be good enough to send out, or should she just quit? At this point, I would say we are really close. We have to tie up a few loose ends but IF the last round of revisions works the way we think they will, then we should be good to go.

The simple point of revision is to not stress out. There is always an easy solution to the problem. I am a firm believer in finding the easy approach. Maybe it is getting rid of one character. Maybe it is changing the location of the story. You just have to look at all of the revision comments and see if there is one thing that will fix multiple problems. The odds are, the solution is there.



  1. It's nice having another set of eyes look over the project. Sometimes it's hard to see the solution, or even the problem, alone. Though, no matter how simple or elegant the solution, it's hard not to get edit fatigue after the nth revision.

  2. I agree Jesse. Unlike so many things in life, where there are no do-overs, in writing if we're lucky and persistant, there's an "ah ha" moment when it all comes together and we're glad we went back to work on something - again.