Sucking It Up… And Un-Sucking It Up

Didn't feel much like working today after getting up at five and spending four hours on the road. But after all the dawdling I could stand, it was time to finally suck it up and get started with the task of un-sucking up the now-completed (Hallelujah!) draft of my next release.

I've forgotten how much I enjoy this part. Cleaning up odds and ends that detract from the story, sharpening its focus, clarifying motivations, strengthening characters... every little nip and tuck is a step toward a more elegant, more streamlined, more successful story and drawing someone (a mysterious being I call IRA, short for the Imaginary Reader Anomaly) more deeply into my elaborate daydream. This is the part where storytelling really comes together for me; I can see the whole picture and work with it instead of micromanaging one component at a time.

I'll fiddle with the story until I can't see it any longer. At that point, I'll solicit opinions from two or three trusted, excellent reader/critiques, who will (kindly, I hope) tell me where I've gone wrong, what I've done right (no wonder I love them), and offer suggestions sure to make me look brilliant when I heed them (most of them, anyway, since our opinions will differ on a few points). Later, my editor will do the same, and I'll listen to her, too, and go back and do some more revision. The copy editor will have a few (or more) queries, clarifications, and corrections, and I'll get one last shot at it during the page-proof stage.

But all that work, all the many passes made and the sometimes-excruciating attention to detail are what finally make a draft into a book. For me, at least (and probably for you as well) there can be no short cuts, so I might as well wring all the satisfaction I can get from this part of the writing process, too.

So how do you feel about revision/editing? Love it? Hate it? Resent it? Do you allow yourself time to revise/edit before sending in a submission/manuscript, or are you one of those folks who literally sends in your manucript hot off the press at the last possibly moment. (I know there are people this works for; I'm just not one of them.)


Suzan Harden said…
I'd compare editing to frosting sugar cookies. Your cookies may be perfect, but people remember how/if it was decorated.

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