Monday, August 10, 2015

A Writer's Work is Never Done

So here's the thing. A writer's work is never done. Weird right? Most people think a writer writes a book and boom, that's it. Nope. There's a lot more to it than that. So, today I am going to talk about one of the most important aspect of writing the dreaded revisions.

If you didn't know, I read a lot. And by a lot I mean, a lot a lot. I read all kinds of things but one thing I read a lot of is Indie books. Why? Because a lot of times they're free or low priced and honestly, I've found some really good books that way. To be honest though, a lot of indie books are...well... crap. The main reason? lack of revisions and editing.

Rewrites, editing and fixing things are actually, in my opinion, the most important aspect of being a writer. I'm serious. Even more than writing the book in the first place. For me, it's also the most difficult part of being a writer because I'm lazy. I think this happens to a lot of indie writers as well. They get the book done and are all excited to publish it. As a result, I've read books with unfollowable stories, novellas that should've been full length novels, books with bad spelling, weird sentences and  rushed endings, stories where everything is crammed in all at once. This does not make for a pleasurable reading experience.

I think sometimes authors get so caught up in what their writing, in telling their story that sometimes they forget the reader can't see what's inside their head and they leave things out. Sometimes the opposite happens as well. They make their worlds so big and so expansive, it's hard for the general reader to follow. (This is the issue I have with a lot of High Fantasy.)

So writers, I beg you, edit and revise your books. Yes, it can be rough and maybe you have to cut scenes out but trust me, it's for the good of the overall project. If your child had a weird disease that made their hair blue but was slowly killing them, you would cure it, not leave it because you like his or her hair color.

Wow, that totally turned into a rant.

The other thing you deal with as a writer is learning when to say "Enough" because that's the opposite end of this spectrum. (And this is what I mean by the title.) It is possible to revise and edit too much. You are always thinking of ways to improve your story or your dialogue or your scenes. At some point you have to just let it go, let your baby fly. (Although author Joe Clifford Faust has mentioned that even after his books are published, he hates them and thinks about how he could have made them better.) The key is finding a balance.

Personal example: I started writing a novel in high school. I finished it in College. I edited it before I left for Russia in 2011 and started sending it out when I was overseas. I came home and I want to start sending it out to agents and publishers again, however looking at it I'm like "Oh wow, some of these scenes sound like they were written by a twelve year old girl." I've matured since I originally wrote it and now I'm going through it again. I'll get some people to read it when I'm done and send it out again. I need to realize that there is a time to let it go. (Although I actually tend to fall more at the "meh...rewrites...Who needs 'em spectrum." Hence the weird stuff that shows up in the blog sometimes)

So, the point of today's lesson:
Revisions = good
Too many revisions = bad
Good ideas+ good rewrites and editing = good novels.

Happy writing.