contest and I didn't post about it. And it ends soon. I'm sorry Abby, but here's me making up for it. Don't take me off the Christmas card list. I really am an avid follower of your blog. Almost stalker-like even. Oh, and thanks for changing the color of the drapes. The old ones were really horrendous.
So for the rest of you, if you haven't popped in to Abby's blog lately, you need to hustle on over. She has over 200 followers for a good reason, and she's celebrating by giving away some awesome stuff. The winner will receive books, some awesome pens, and a journal to use them in. Does it get much better than this? Well okay, a publishing contract worth 2 million would be nice too, but let's not get greedy. Get over there and enter the contest right this second. The contest ends on the 31st, so you don't want to miss out.
Today's blog chain question is brought to us by the incredibly talented (and recently agented for her book Revenant) Sarah who asks:
How do you handle revisions? Do you revise as you're writing, or do you wait until you've gone through beta readers and crit partners to revise? How soon after you finish do you begin your revisions?
Okay, this is a question I have been dreading, as I watch all the others on the chain explain how they do it. This is one of the problems with being the newbie. It just sucks because everyone else seems so cool by comparison. Sigh. Yeah, I know I shouldn't do comparisons. Hard habit to break, but I'm workin' on it.
Revisions are the devil. They're a demonic gatekeeper, laughing as they toss the key to publication from hand to hand, knowing full well you'll never pass their test and be allowed into the light. Wow, that's dark. Sorry.
So how do I handle revisions? As I write, I struggle with word after word, my brain refusing to acknowledge which one might be right. I have really had to work hard to turn off my internal revisor (and sometimes I'm even successful at it) so that I don't revise on the fly. When I catch myself going back over a sentence, I have to mentally smack myself. Leave it alone for now, I tell myself. Yes, it sucks right now, but leave it alone. I'm not always able to shut it down, but I'm getting better. The electro-shock therapy works wonders. And no I haven't noticed any side effects. Side effects. Side effects.
Oh, where was I? Revisions. Right. I recently took a short story class and I was the first person to submit my story for critique. This was when I really got a taste of why revisions are necessary. The class tore my story to shreds (virtually, not literally) and well they should have. Let's face it. My story was a first draft and it sucked. Well, it didn't suck, but it was definitely not good. I took everyone's advice though and put it (and the critique comments) to the side for a while. I then helped critique everyone else's, learning all the while how the things I were finding in other people's story could help me improve my own.
Now I'm revising the short story and I'm glad I took the pause and let it sit for a few weeks. I am seeing not only things I can do better, but I'm also seeing where I can add to the story to help flesh it out properly. My revision process is still a work-in-progress, but I have learned alot just from the answers everyone else has given on the chain. Like the practice of laying all the critiques out side by side as I revise. Great idea. I still have a bit of work to do before I can say I have a concrete revision process, but the one thing I can admit is that this question has given me some really good ideas (from the other blog chainers).
Wow, I made it through this one. Why was I dreading answering it? Who knows. You should probably go check out how Kat handled it. And make a note on your calendar to stop by Margie's blog for her take on the subject.