I remember having a sense of relief the day I typed that last word of my manuscript. I didn't realize that was only the beginning.
Here, I'll put this in a familiar equation that has taken on an entirely new meaning for me:
End-product= Manuscript x (Corrections)^2
Now. By 'corrections' I don't mean just spelling and grammar. No, no, no. If only it were that simple! It's content, logic, flow, plotting, character development, natural dialogue, relatability, believability (try conquering that one in fantasy)...oh the list goes on. And every time I'd read through it, I'd find something else that needed more work.
At around 100K words, that obviously wasn't a job done overnight (a few years?!). For the perfectionist in me, it seemed never ending. Mostly because the more I'd write, the more I'd learn and develop my craft (still). So every time I'd go back through, I'd find something else I wanted to tweak and change. Ah, the labor of love.
Probably the biggest thing the revision process has taught me is to trust you, dear reader. It sounds silly, but it's true. I know you are brilliant, sharp, witty, and intuit an alarming amount of ideas. (Not so great when I'm trying to be deceptive with plotting! ;D ) But you don't need to be beaten senseless with the same idea, said in 3 different ways, 3 times in a row. Thanks to Ben for helping me understand what I'm doing to you! So, I've learned to trust you. It's not that you aren't 'trustworthy', it's that I really want you to get it--see what I see in my head. But I'm learning the best way for that is to give just enough detail so that you can see it in a way only you can, and make the story yours as much as it's mine.
And through that process, hopefully you'll learn to trust me too!
What has the revision process taught some of you?
Just remember how many times J.R.R. Tolkien rewrote his stories. You can use him as an example of what to do and what NOT to do. Like you said, the reader needs you to guide them to see the picture you are creating with your words and it can't be a wrong picture if they are enjoying the trip. Maybe just a different picture?! Does that make sense? I look forward to reading your manuscript when it is done.ReplyDelete
Hi Norma! Thanks...good point! Although I'm not certain I've got it in me to write my own language :) What you said absolutely makes sense. It's a fine line to walk upon...still learning my balance. Thanks so much for your encouragement! And if you're really in the mood for a YA fantasy, I'd be honored to hand it to you.ReplyDelete
Balance, that is the key. I think you will find/have it.ReplyDelete
I would love to read it! Really.
I love the equation! So so true. Or it might be 'corrections^10'.ReplyDelete
Ha...no kidding! Or the infinity symbol. Except that one's not on my computer. DANG IT!ReplyDelete
Revision has taught me that sometimes the bits I love just don't belong in my manuscript. It's so hard!ReplyDelete
Oh, and I love your equation!
Beth, isn't that the truth?! Many of the ones I love have to go. What sacrifices we make.ReplyDelete