Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Deep in Revision Cave

Some who write dread the first draft. I have friends who write and describe the first draft as a plane soaring to the sky only to repeatedly stall in midair. The terrifying sense of doom—an imminent crash— is ever present, only to abate when the wind beneath their wings picks up again.

Not me. First drafts are intense and immensely absorbing. Entering the world of another time, another place, or another person, is a joy. I operate under the illusion that I am taking my riders, er, readers, along with me.

That is until the first draft is finished and my read-through & minor fixes done. Time passes, another read-through and a few more issues solved. Then another clean-up, and it’s time to let another reader in.

Here come my betas, the most generous helpers imaginable, plowing through my mess. I rely on their giving souls to tell me if the ride was as illuminating and exhilarating as I thought it was. I share with one at a time, correcting the manuscript with each feedback, hoping to spare the next reader a few more typos and wrong turns. Actually, I’m hoping there are few things to correct, but remind myself that every suggestion is a pearl disguised as an oyster.

Days/weeks later, and the first feedback comes. Ouch. But okay, I can fix that, and this, and the other thing.


Second Beta feedback. Ouch—Ouch. Why is it so different from the first? Because it is a different reader, duh. Okay, not the end of the world. I can deal with it.

I limit this first beta round to two or three readers maximum. Too many co-pilots will crash a plane; sadly we all know this by now. The goal is a good landing.
 That about describes where I am these days. Focused, and praying that it will be good.





13 comments:

  1. I'm in the middle of a rewrite right now, one I'm getting in shape to send to my beta readers. They always keep me on track -- and usually their feedback means more work of course. But their insights always make my ms. better. Enjoy the process. It means a better book down the road.

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  2. I hope the feedback is helpful and gets your book where you want it to be. Good luck!

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  3. I like your writing area! (pic) And great analogy there. Thanks for being so helpful with my WIP!

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    1. *Best* WIP I've read in a long time. It was a privilege to be of help. I know your novel will be published, Tina.

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  4. Best wishes to you, dear friend. I have such respect for you as an author and I love your stories.

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  5. You have a great attitude, Mirka! It will serve you well.

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  6. I hope you receive extremely helpful feedback, Mirka. ('Helpful' can sometimes be ... ouchy. It's okay. We'll apply some ointment and keep going.) I'm in a mid-air stall, unfortunately. Or maybe it's a revision. I'm not even sure. It's a draft I've written then abandoned, then turned into a nearly whole new story which I've recently decided to chuck aside again because it's not the genre I want ... so I'm kind of in the middle of nowhere with it right now. Yet I know, I know, I'll definitely sort it out and try again.

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  7. Exactly! Processing feedback and transforming it into something that sings on the page is what separates the men, um the writer, from the mouse. It's not for the timid. Great post! :)

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  8. "first draft as a plane soaring to the sky only to repeatedly stall in midair. "
    Love this! It is exactly how I feel with the first draft! When the first draft is finished that's when I can relax and revise-it's tough for me but not like writing it the first time!
    Good luck with the revisions and bless those Beta Readers wherever they are :)

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  9. I both love and hate first drafts, and now that I've actually revised a couple of novels, I love and hate revisions too. Hah! It looks like you are in a calm and serene place right now and I hope you will be able to send out your puppy soon. And what a pretty and cozy writing space to do this in. All you need is a cat on your lap to help you along with the revisions.

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    1. The cats are sitting on my bed only two feet away. I tell my cats to please not help with the typing. Their ideas, expressed on the keyboard, are hard to decipher.

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  10. Nothing like great feedback and I love your cozy writing corner. Good luck with your rewrites!

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