Friday, September 30, 2011
WRAP UP FRIDAY: Revisions, revisions
Cate Masters mentioned something that struck me this week. She said that revisions are the most arduous but also the most important part of the writing process. I believe there is no way that a writer can get a book done and think it's ready without going through some form of revision and/or editing. This has held true for me this week because rather than write new stuff, I've been revising, revising, revising, and then doing some more revising :).
My latest WIP has had more revisions than I've tried different diets. When I look at the original manuscript and then read the current one, although the basic plot is the same, it's still barely recognizable! Between that time and now, I've attended countless workshops, found amazing critique partners, read tons of books on the craft, done loads of research, and generally applied everything I learned to the story. And even now, I'm finding room for improvement. There is a quote that is very relevant in this context. It's a quote by Dennis R Miller, who, it is claimed, took 25 years to finish his novel The Perfect Song: "Life is what happens to a writer between drafts." In many aspects, this is so true for me, although 25 years is a bit much, don't you think? Lol.
In the end, it's all about making it work, and using free time to one's advantage. John Irving's words of wisdom ring true: "The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything."
Another thing Cate said related to rejections. What writer doesn't dread receiving rejections? However, it's all about perspective. Cate stated that a rejection meant to her that she needed to go back and work more on the manuscript to make it better. I do agree with her to a great extent, but I also think that sometimes a writer just happens to be not at the right place at the right time with the right story. Have you ever read a published book and wondered, how on earth did the publisher want this? Then, I've also read manuscripts by unpublished authors - brilliant stuff - and wondered how on earth nobody had the sense to pick them up yet. Sadly, it's not only about talent. It's also a lot about the bottom line.
Luckily, as Cate has proven to herself and her readers, small presses and self-publishing offer a respectable alternative to NY publishers these days. They're not a substitute, of course, merely another option or two. But whatever a writer decides to do, it is always vital to do lots of research and understand the mechanics of the industry before making a decision. Power lies in knowledge.
And finally, another thing that struck me about Cate: She has published work in multiple genres, including literary work. She did not put limitations on herself or try to put herself in one little box. In the age of branding, when everything has to be neatly classified and catalogued, this can be a challenge. However, everything is possible if an author can identify him/herself strategically with different sets of readers. As mentioned in previous blogs, some authors handle this with the use of multiple pseudonyms.
And now, seeing that it's Friday, here's my eye candy of the week... there's something about a guy who's working his buns off, isn't it?
Also, please drop by my best girl and critique partner Zee Monodee's blog today. She's the mistress of revisions, and one of the people I've learned from most!
Finally, remember, whatever your story is, just keep writing and above all...
Live well and love deeply!
~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love. "Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.