Monday, September 14, 2009

Revisions : Krista :: Kryptonite : Superman

All right, I’ll admit it: Revising is by far my least favorite part of writing. I love that first draft. I love constructing each sentence, yanking each word out of my cerebrum or up from my toes. I love the story’s newness in that first draft, and I love getting to know the characters, seeing how they emerge.

The second draft is all right. Cleaning up my tendency toward verbosity is always a good thing, and scene management is easier once there’s actually something to manage. But then the third draft comes along…and the fourth…and the fifth. By then I’ve pretty much memorized every chapter word for word, the story sounds about as original as a TWILIGHT rip-off, and the characters’ eccentricities are starting to get on my nerves.

Still, I persevere. I do everything I can to make it the best it can be, I get some readers to give me their suggestions, I revise again. I force myself to write a query letter and (much, much worse) a synopsis, and then I stop, hold my breath, and hope that some small voice at the back of my head starts screaming, “All right! Be done with it! Send it off now!”

So I send it off. I close that abominable file for good and let out a very large breath. But then something really terrible happens: Someone likes it enough to request pages--but not enough to offer representation. And I find myself wondering, “What do I change now?”

If revising is my least favorite part of writing, revising during the query stage has got to be one of my least favorite parts of life. Because I usually don’t know what Agent A didn’t like, and Agent B might not agree, anyway. And even if a consensus about a specific problem begins to emerge, what if I start work on a major revision and Agent C stops by my inbox to request more material? Do I send them the (apparently) flawed original manuscript, or do I rush through the changes? Or do I just pitch the keyboard across the room and go find some chocolate?

The truth is, my rational side already knows the answers to these questions. One agent’s opinion is simply that. Many agents’ opinions are probably as good as a divine manifestation (assuming they agree). And just send those pages, flaws and all, with a brief note perhaps about the planned changes. But the rest of me still has a hard time dealing with all the emotional peaks and troughs. Sigh.

At least writing this blog post has been a bit therapeutic. Still, I think I’m going to take a break now and go look for that chocolate…


Holly said...

"If revising is my least favorite part of writing, revising during the query stage has got to be one of my least favorite parts of life."

Your blog is great. I'm going through the same thing right now. I sent out four queries to test the waters, revised the query letter this week, noticed a specific flaw in my writing, and plan to stop querying for a month while I revise the whole flipping novel.

It's really easy to lose your mind. You have to weigh "At some point I have to just stop" versus seeing a real flaw in your work.

Good luck!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Good luck back at you, Holly! Thanks for stopping by (and hopefully you'll stop by again to see this note).

Holly said...

Thanks, Krista -- I'll probably need that luck. I've bookmarked your site. Your down-to-earth comments are refreshing.