A little while ago I sent the most recent round of revisions to my editor. Last week he sent me an email to say that everything was great, and he loved the changes I made. Yesssss.
This is a great relief. It means we’re on track for the release of my next novel, A Magnificent Crime, in 2014.
Although some writers don’t enjoy doing revisions, I actually love them. (Well, most of the time…) I once read–and I wish I could remember where–that doing revisions is like this: you’ve baked a cake and frosted it, only to have the cake returned to you with a request to fold in two more eggs.
It can be daunting, for sure. But it’s all part of the process. After all:
“Writing is rewriting.”
William Faulkner said that (among many, many other writers) and I believe it, wholeheartedly.
And, fortunately, I enjoy the process. Making big changes, cutting whole chunks out, inserting shiny new scenes, tinkering with a sentence to find just the right word…it’s all play to me.
But it’s not always easy to see your own writing in an objective way. This is where an editor and/or critique partners are invaluable. But many writers don’t have that kind of support just yet. And many of us want to make revisions in addition to those suggested by beta readers and editors. So here’s what I suggest:
There are many books on writers’ craft in general, but not as many on the specific issue of revising. This book is amazing. Elizabeth Lyon is a fantastic editor, and has helped me personally, HUGE. (I thanked her in the acknowledgments of my first book.)
A lot of her ideas revolve around character. She talks about having character-driven openings, and character-driven plot. Which is something I believe in. It’s hard to go wrong it you’re keeping your characters in the forefront of your mind, and letting them guide and drive your story.
But there’s way more to Elizabeth’s book than this. She looks at everything: from the big issues to the nitty gritty of wordsmithing…and everything in between. If you’re writing a novel or short story and you want to make it better, get Manuscript Makeover. It’s a bible.
So how about you? Any good writing books you love?
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