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Friday, December 16, 2011

Let the Revisions Begin!

Ever feel like you've been smacked with a wet noodle the size of Cleavland? Reality has a way of doing that to you when you least expect it.

Don't get me wrong, I never claimed to be an expert writer or anything. but, after six years of writing fan-fiction and receiving positive feedback, I never expected to need to do quite so much work during the revision process for any of my manuscripts.

That will teach me to think that just because my fan base for fan-fictions think I'm "Such an awesome writer" that I am anywhere close to knowing just how much hard work really is required to succeed. Determination, a deep passion for writing, time and patience, are only the beginning.

It takes blood, sweat, and tears to succeed as a writer.

Truer words have never been spoken. Most beginning writers think that writing the book all the way to the end is the hard part.


That's just the icing of the cake.

Revision is truly the longest and hardest part of getting any book ready to publish. I'm often told "It can take up to ten years to get one manuscript ready to publish." And now I know why.

Revising means picking every tiny aspect apart and combing through it, one piece at a time. Pieces you've spent days and even weeks working on trying to perfect them, end up being completely useless. Yet you struggle over whether to cut them or not. Talk about painful!

Blood, sweat, and tears, truly are the foundation of what makes a good writer stand out. You have to build on that layer by layer, or there will never be a solid product.

With my current manuscript round one of revisions is a little over half done. I've been working on it daily since the beginning of December. I have discovered the plot has some major holes in it, which I've been trying to address during this revision.

Thanks to the feedback I've received through my crit groups and a few friends, I know my opening hook certainly works as intended. So that's one huge hurdle passed. I know that the story is garnering quite an interest among my peers and fellow writers, as well as my Live Journal friends. Way more then I ever expected it to.

I've also learned that at the moment it's catching the interest of male and female readers equally at my crit groups. That was quite unexpected and gives me a bit of insight for my marketing procedure, when I'm ready for that step.

And yes, I said crit groups, as in plural. One can be enough, but I thrive on the feedback I receive from as many people as I can. Especially the blunt, in your face, feedback. If you can't take honest constructive criticism, to the point of bordering on a "flame" then don't bother trying to get published. Crit groups are there to help you grow as a writer and they are mild compared to what a professional editor will say.

Anyways, let's get back on track here. The characterizations aren't quite as good as they can be yet. I've made a list of things to do to improve those during the second round of revisions.

The plot has managed to hold the interest of the people who have read it all the way through. It just needs the plot holes filled and some spit and polish. So, at least the 82,176 words of my manuscript aren't a complete waste. There is a gem hidden beneath the massive weight of work ahead of me. I just need to dig up the gem and polish it. That's a huge relief!

I have, for the first time since I started writing, deleted an entire chapter that did nothing to move the plot forward. Wow was that rough! So many hours perfecting that chapter, only to find it was useless. ouch! But I sucked up my courage and cut it. I've also added two other chapters that really move the plot along since then.

Round two will take even longer, because it goes much deeper, directly into the meat of the writing itself. I plan to address the entire "story-telling" concept as well as refining the characterizations and filling in the remaining plot holes. Now that's going to take some serious commitment to accomplish all three steps during one round of revisions.

Over all I keep telling myself every bit of pain and sorrow will be worth all of the effort and hard work because in the end I will succeed. I just have to be patient and rigorous.

In conclusions I'd like to take a moment to say that I greatly appreciate all of the continued feedback I receive and eagerly look forward to the next step of this enlightening journey.

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