Revision? Is that the same as editing?
Once I wrote a first draft for a story. Then I revised it and it became a second draft. Then I revised it again and it became the third draft at which point I sent it to a consultancy for a report and it came back and I revised it again. Sent it back, further revisions. Then came the invitation to send the all-important first 50 pages with a view to it being called in. Sent it. More tiny revisions. Each time it’s like trying to find specs of dandruff on white velvet!!!
So I wondered . . . am I a revisionist, a post-revisionist, or even an ante-revisionist. I’m rapidly becoming anti-revisionist, that’s for sure. And then into my in-box this morning pops Nathan Bransford’s blog which I paste here for all those writers amongst you and even those who don’t write but like a bit of a laugh. (And PS: isn’t it beyond spooky that all these pointed emails are drifting in during my crisis of confidence?)
A cocktail party conversation:
Person #1: Wow, you’re a reviser? A published reviser??
Person #2: Yeah. I’ve revised five books now.
Person #1: Oh my god!! I can’t believe I’m actually talking to a published reviser!! How glamorous is that?
Person #2: Well, it’s hard work actually. I put a lot of time into my revisions.
Person #1: But to see your revisions on the shelf? What is that like?
Person #2: I’ve been revising since I was twelve, so…. it’s kind of a dream.
Person #1: Wow. Aren’t all revisers super rich?
Person #2: Not really. You’d be surprised at how little revisers make. I still have a day job, though of course the dream is to be a full-time reviser.
Person #1: You know… I’ve always thought everyone has one revision in them. Someday I’m just going to sit down and revise my memoir.
Person #2: Well… revising isn’t that easy. You don’t just sit down and revise, you should really study the craft.
Person #1: Oh nonsense, how hard could revising a book be?
Person #2: Would you look at that, my drink is empty. I’d better head to the bar. Nice meeting you. Good luck with that revision.
I hate revising! You end up changing the story so much it makes me wonder if it’s worth it.
God I so agree, Lua. Who cares where the semi-colon is or even if its needed? And don’t get me started on the darkening of my male protagonist. Halfway through last year ‘they’ asked for me to darken him and it’s now got to the point where I wonder if he is just a black hole in the ground so dark has he become!
And Nikalee, do you know I am writing the new WIP at nights in long-hand in bed and loving it and can barely open the computer file on the revised ms at all. It has become boring and mundane and I don’t know how mainstream published writers continue to do it!
Prue, this was amazing, it actually made me laugh out loud. I printed it out so that I can just read it when I feel like I need a good laugh 🙂
Revising is a medallion with two sides; on one side, it makes me feel better to know that even though my first draft is full of mistakes and doesn’t sound as good as it did in my head, I’m going to have the chance to revise (and revise and then revise some more) and make it better. On the other hand, it’s frustrating, boring and far less creative than actually sitting down and writing the first draft…
As a sister revisionist turned anti-revisionist I thank you for this post. This made me laugh out loud too.
ref: <> I used to poo-poo the idea that “what you exactly need in your life will somehow come to you.” However, I’m becoming a strong believer that we just need to open our eyes to what comes our way.
Scribbler, humour can leaven anything and this little extract from Nathan Bransford’s blog was a ripper!