Rewrites, Revisions, and Falling Out of Love

If I don’t respond to emails, answer phone calls, or if I fail to like your status on Facebook, try not to panic. I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth or taken a vow of cyber-silence. I’m just in the middle of a rewrite.

For those of you who write, you know what I’m talking about. Rewrites are intense, stressful, and totally necessary. I believe rewriting is one of the most important steps in the writing process. For those of you who’ve been there, you understand why I rip out a handful of hair each time I begin rewriting a new chapter. You understand why I’m slowly losing my mind.

But, for all of those authors out there who are shaking their heads and saying, “My book was perfect after one draft and a quick proofread,” please read on. We need to talk. Or, rather, you need to take my Falling Out of Love Challenge. In order to take this challenge, you need to wait at least six months to a year after you finish the initial draft.

“Why do I have to wait that long”, do you ask? Here’s why: You can’t edit your book if you still love it. Yep, that’s what I said. I’ll even rephrase it for you: If you love your book, you can’t edit it, at least not properly.

You see, I once thought my book was perfect. I finished the first draft, polished it up a bit, posted it on authonomy.com, and waited for the compliments to roll in. Sure, some people liked it, but they had lots of criticisms and suggestions to make. Too much of this…not enough of that…consider changing this and that. It wasn’t long before I began to see my book in a new light. And, before I knew it, I fell out of love.

Falling out of love is a good thing. Love is blind, love is forgiving, love makes us do things we ordinarily wouldn’t do – like publish a poorly edited book on Amazon. If you have uttered the following phrases, you need to take my Falling Out of Love Challenge:

  1. It’s fine. I ran spell check and fixed all the errors.
  2. I just finished my book yesterday, and I already published it on Amazon.
  3. I just finished my book yesterday, and now I’m working on my query letter.
  4. Every book has a few punctuation mistakes.
  5. It’s the story that matters.

Guilty of uttering any of these phrases? That’s okay. I still love you. Love is about embracing imperfections. It’s okay to love your book even if it’s imperfect. You have to love it in order to sell it, market it, or even finish it. But, a good writer knows the difference between loving their book and ignoring mistakes. True love is not blind.

Ready to take the Falling Out of Love Challenge? Let’s go…

  1. Write book
  2. Fall totally, head-over-heels in love with book.
  3. Set book aside for six months
  4. Re-read book, noticing all the imperfections you didn’t pick up on before

Still love your book as much as you did before? Probably not, but don’t be discouraged. Revise, rewrite, and rebuild your relationship with your book. Before you know it, you’ll fall in love all over again.

4 thoughts on “Rewrites, Revisions, and Falling Out of Love

  1. Been there, done that, just recently as it turns out. Where's my t-shirt? Really great advice for you readers here, Tricia. I would only add to beware of the vicious rewrite vortex. Don't fall in. You'll never get out. Do a great job on the first rewrite, and you can avoid the vortex.

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  2. That is so true, Tricia. I've had manuscripts that I've written two and even three years ago and when I read them today, after taking extensive classes, mingling with writers' groups, following non-ending courses in story and plotting and the list goes on, although I still love them, I know they must be revised. While the story is sound and solid, there needs to be a lot of cutting, editing of certain characters, less meandering and getting to the point faster.

    It's amazing how reshaping a story enhances our self-esteem. I feel better about a nicely edited story than I do when I first write it.

    The good thing is that now, I have more than one novel I can publish.

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  3. Thank you, Ryan, Misty, & Joss for stopping by. Joss, you're absolutely right! When editing, I'm always finding parts of the story that need to be cut. Sometimes I come across areas that need to be fleshed out. A careful edit leads to a much stronger story.

    Like

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