Thursday, October 6, 2011

On the slowness of revision

My NaBlo posts are in the form of letters to my journal about my revision process. Along the way, I'll include Home-Made Revision Workshop posts, and my Friday Challenges..

Dear Journal,
Patience is a virtue - or so I'm told. But it isn't one of mine. Hmmm....I just thought for a minute and realized, that in some circumstances, it is one of mine. I am very patient with my clients. I am patient with older folks and younger folks - it is with myself I am not very patient. This, dear journal, is something I need to foster with my work. I'm proud of how I've kept myself from throwing True out there, into the cold cruel world, too early. Until the pitch the publisher - nobody in the publishing or agenting world had seen a bit of it. I really care about this work and don't want to rush it. I get anxious though - I want someone to pick me up and carry me into the land of published writers - but not by any other means than by having a book that deserves it.
Yesterday I had a bunch of clients and chores. I got no revising done. Today and tomorrow it is much the same. I might get part of a chapter put into third person, before I leave for work. I have to walk the mutt and hang out some clothes too - we are having a clear day and we have no dryer. It is imperative to use the elements when they are present!
And revising is a slow slow process - at least for me. I write without outlines, not knowing anything before my characters do, or only just. My first draft is me telling me the story. Like a teenager telling a movie plot, it is full of 'and thens' and 'after that the trouble started' and other goofy place holders. The last draft I did was clearing up,  but there is still lots to refine - lots of gleaning to do. Finally, I know the story. I have it, and I can thank the false deadline of the pitch the publisher exercise for that. Now I want others to have it as clearly as it is for me. And that, my friends, gets done one blazingly tiny word at a time.
So, journal? Be nice to me, OK? I'll get to it - and my dream is that I have most of it done by the end of this month - ready for submission - but that might not happen - and I'll just have to let it be.


Christine Danek said...

WE are on the same planet. One day it will happen, it's just a test to our patience.
Thanks and good luck.

Talli Roland said...

I think it's fantastic that you've been so patient to this point! Your work deserves it.

Talli Roland said...

I think it's fantastic that you've been so patient to this point! Your work deserves it.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - No doubt about it; revision doesn't happen quickly. And if we did revise too quickly it wouldn't really be our best work anyway. Your journal will just have to be patient with you...

Anonymous said...

I think there is a good reason why patience is called a virtue!

Revision does take hours and hours and hours. If I want time to fly with the speed of light I edit and revise. It's my favorite thing to do with a story, but oh it goes so slowly.

I think it would be therapeutic to be able to hang out my clothes on these warm days. I envy you your clothesline!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets