Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Revising: Yuck! ...or maybe not.

Revising. Yuck! Everyone hates it, right?

Wrong. I have discovered, to my great surprise, that I love revising. It is so fun to take something ho-hum and make it better. A snip here, a tuck there. I love tightening things up. Getting rid of everything that doesn’t add to the story. More detail here, and more emotion there. The story is really taking shape. I love taking the bare bones and adding flesh. But let's not stop there. What about clothes?You don't want your story running around naked, do you?

Clothing your story, that can be lots of fun. Add colors and patterns to the mix. Description adds color. Dialogue adds depth and patterns. Details are the buttons and trim. I love how a special touch can make the story live and breathe.

My critique group gives me awesome feedback. With their help I can flesh the story out and make it more interesting and more real. I’ve heard lots of back talk about revising. I think I love it.

There was a time when my critique group was shy about giving feedback. We didn’t know each other all that well, and we weren’t sure where our boundaries lay. My new friends were too kind to tell me what they really thought, and so they tippy toed around the truth a little. We had been meeting together for more than a year when I realized they were not always honest with me. They were afraid of hurting my feelings.

I belong to a critique group for solid feedback. Honest feedback. Now I ask them to tell it like it is, and I love it. I would rather hear the truth from them than from a reader or an editor. And frankly, no editor is going to take that kind of time. And no reader is going to read far enough, if the book isn’t good.

Once I get the goods from my critique group, I can hardly wait to get to my computer and fix things that aren’t working. Of course they don’t have to be mean about it, and they aren’t. I value their opinions and I value their honesty. It goes without saying that I value their friendship.

Revising or refining? It’s all up to you.

Linda Garner


L.T. Elliot said...

I've got nothing but love for revision, lately. It was so freeing for me to FINALLY understand that revision is a blessing and not a curse. I learned that I could write a crap-first-draft if I had to so I could get the story out. Now I'm in LOVE with revision. It saves the day! Yay, revision!

Carolyn V. said...

Hear, hear. I second that L.T. Love the revision process!

Danyelle said...

I love the idea of looking at them as refining rather than as revisions. I still love the feeling of getting it all out for the first time better, but relish the feeling that comes after the refining. :D