Saturday, January 16, 2010

Calling All Writers: How Do YOU Cope with the Grief that Is Revision?

Hi, everyone,
As a result of one of my recent posts, "Good Grief! Revision in Five Stages!," I've received an assignment to write an article on the topic for the June issue of the Romance Writer's Report. But I'm going to need help from any writers out there (published or not) in the form of a few brilliant and concise quotes regarding how you deal with any of the following stages when it comes to revision:

1. Denial (Ever wondered, even for a moment, if your editor went on a bender and sent you some other poor, talentless sap's revision letter?)
2. Anger (She. Clearly. Doesn't. Get. Me! Philistine!)
3. Bargaining (Maybe if I just do X, I can keep Y.)
4. Depression (It's hopeless. I'm really just a poser after all.)
5. (and how you finally make it through to) Acceptance (What do you know? She was right all along!)

If you're able to send me a brief quote for possible inclusion, I'd love it. In
return, I'll be happy to mention your most recent (or upcoming) release, if you have one scheduled. And you need not be a romance reader to contribute.

I hope to receive lots of wisdom to share but can't guarantee, due to space
limitations and possible repetition, any particular tip will be used. However,
you'll have my undying gratitude for helping (and we all know how much that's worth!)

Thanks so much!


Robin said...

I am in revisions with my agent, Jenny Bent, and haven't made it to the editor stage, yet. But, whenever she sends me notes, my stomach drops and I feel like I'm in high school again and I've been called to the principal's office. I'll read her suggestions, and try not to cry, while I wonder why she ever signed me in the first place. (This stage usually lasts at least 24 hours but sometimes as long as a week.)

After I slap myself around a bit and realize that she signed me after reading the roughest of rough drafts, and repeatedly telling myself what a GENIUS she is, I finally sit down with my MS and re-read it with her input in mind.

Sometimes I have to walk away from my WIP for a week or two and let her comments marinate.

Once I have made the revisions she suggests and see how much better, clearer and funnier my MS has become, I tell myself I will never get upset again.

Until I get another email, and my stomach drops to my toes.

Colleen Thompson said...

You say it so eloquently and so honestly. Terrific comments. And I sometimes feel the same way.

Thank you so much.

Kathryn Paterson said...

I hit the depression point with my book last night. I was cleaning out my study finally (after leaving it pretty much the way it was post dissertation defense), and came across various bits and pieces of my manuscript. While there were a couple of random pages that I thought were actually pretty good, so much of the rest I was hating. Sigh. This third draft's going to be tough.

Colleen Thompson said...

Hang in there, Kathryn. A brief period of self-loathing usually means you're on the right track. The writers who are really in trouble are the one who never have any doubts they're deathless prose will conquer the world!

I can't eat chocolate, but I hear it helps. As does a nice chardonnay... and getting on with it. ;)

Kathryn Paterson said...

Actually, what most helps me is laying flat on my back on the couch watching a marathon of Law & Order. Criminal Minds and CSI work, too, and don't even get me started on Medium. ;)

Kathryn Paterson said...

And you're right that getting on with it helps. That is very true.

Lark said...

What Robin said!!!

For Stages 1,2,3,4 --tequila helps.

When I got to stage 5, I decided not to merely accept but look at the revision as a chance take my story to the next level, to use the input to make the book bigger, better, more compelling (okay, and about 20,000 words shorter).


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