Monday, July 15, 2013

Vicious Cycle of Critiques and Revisions

Raise your hand if you hate revisions. 
It feels like the process is dragging on--you just want it to be perfect by now or maybe you've gotten sick of working on it. I'm stimulated by revisions. I love the feeling of, "Man, this is so much better now!" Progress. The hard part is turning our babies over to others with their sharpened red pencils. But writers willingly do it because they know that others can't see what is in the author's head and there is bound to be some lack of clarity, some missing details you figured you'd already added.

I'm using the red pen this week, finishing up a whole manuscript critique. I enjoy that too. Maybe it's my dominant left brain. I like finding details on which to comment. Both good and bad. It helps me hone into what is needed, improves my craft as well as helping another's ms. My weakness of reading slowly helps me to catch things like typos. I've marked something on almost every page. And it's a good story too. I like to think I am thorough but some might use the term 'excessive'. That's why we ask for multiple beta readers.

Authors have to be tough. They have to take constructive criticism over and over again. If I'm being too picky or take a word too literally, the author has the chance to compare it against what others have marked or accepted as is. The right to ignore a comment is theirs. When several beta readers come up with the same conclusion over a needed change, the author best listen. That's how it works.

In another week or so I'll turn the ms back to it's owner and she will hand me mine. I imagine a new round of revisions will begin. Maybe I should raise my hand. Revisions can take for-e-ver and I'll be telling myself to focus on that progress I'm so fond of. Sigh.

1 comment:

Hillary Sperry said...

Agreed! On both counts! Love the progress, love to offer up a "thorough" critique :) and often feel ready to just be done already!

It's why I remind myself that there are lots of people who can write a book, but only the authors can make it worth reading.

Red pens at ready... and... GO!