Friday, December 4, 2009

Revision repose

Revision repose is (a word I just made up) the book that does not want to be edited. You love it; you’ve written all 60-90k of it; it’s hawt – but needs revision to be the book that you know it could be. Have you ever had that?

I’m currently having this with a book I have finished myself. I love it; the idea is cool, the premise is fresh, and there’s a twist that blows my mind. So why can’t I get through a couple chapters without feeling like I want to take a screwdriver to my eyeball?

Neil Gaiman said of The Graveyard Book that he couldn’t have written it 13 years (or however long) ago because he simply wasn’t good enough to pull it off. I definitely feel this statement – I know the book is special, but I think I’m talking myself out of it daily, the revision. So instead of doing 2-4 chapters daily, as is my wont, this book languishes in revision repose with one chapter, if I’m lucky. I hate it.

I can only take comfort in the fact that I’m getting ½ to 1 chapter a day finished. It’s all I can do. I had originally planned to have this revision done at the end of December (to give to betas in January, and Super Agent at the end of January) but HOLY COW. It really messes with me!

You? Have you ever had a book that languishes in revision repose? What did you do? Give up or soldier on?


  1. Wow. That is so WEIRD. I made up 'revision repose' for my post yesterday. Perhaps we were having a psychic moment or one of Jung's universal ones. And I quoted a different thing from Neil Gaiman.
    What I did with my revision-repose book in question, is sign on for NaNoWriMo and write most of a new book in November. Now I have two books I'll be rewriting. But I also posted a snippet from the repose book and since people like the character I shared, I'm feeling enthused about returning to the hard work of revising.

  2. After attending Thrillerfest last year, I know I need to rewrite my last book. The response I got to the idea was gratifying, but the craft, not so much. I know what to do, I just have to finish the one I'm working on now, which I am so excited about. Need more time to write...

  3. I must be one of the few authors who actually likes revisions. I feel I know my characters so much better by my second or third time through the manuscript so it is easier to add details, scenes and dialog. The hardest part for me is deleting unnecessary scenes.

  4. Great post! I love it, especially since I've been trudging through my final revisions for the last two (plus) months. I am also the master at procrastinating instead of writing (hence me finding, and then commenting, on your blog) :D

    I like your blog, I'll be back.


  5. Great blog - it looks like a treasure trove of good information! :)

  6. Getting an idea out of my head and onto paper is always the exciting part. It's written quickly and I know without a doubt that first draft is not my best writing. I revise at least a half dozen times... sometimes totally rewrite... before I begin to feel it's ready to share. Revisions are drudgery for sure, but I don't mind them. I find it easiest to get my head into one scene at a time so I set them rather than full chapters as goals. I also avoid setting time limits on my revisions as I've found I'm not always realistic with them. Some sections simply take longer than others to work through. Good luck with yours!


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