1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Revision goes on and on and on...

    Discussion in 'Revision and Editing' started by deadrats, Mar 26, 2022.

    I spend more time during the editing and revision process than I do the actual writing. I write pretty clean copy and do some editing along the way, but that doesn't seem to do much to cut down on the time it takes to get something ready for submission. I'm not going over the top and editing just to edit or move a few words around. My writing often just needs a lot of work before it actually reads more like a final draft. And even then if I look at something after a few months that was considered done and final, I realize there's still more work needed.

    I am by no means a perfectionist. I'm also pretty lazy so I'm not looking to work on something forever. I know the level my writing needs to be on to sell. Why is it such a process to get there? Does anyone else feel like the revision process goes on forever? Any tips to speed things up or catch things sooner?
     
  2. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Dog mom Contributor

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    Time to embrace the suck, is it? My sympathy, deadrats.

    Right now, I am doing the final edit of a manuscript that has been scrutinized by half a dozen beta readers, including a couple of eagle-eyed folks with master's degrees in English literature. I find manuscript revision to be a piece of German chocolate cake with an inch of caramel pecan icing in comparison to writing a query letter and synopsis. Alas, the time has come for me to quit fiddling around and send my poor manuscript into the marketplace. Talk about a process that goes on forever...
     
  3. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” Justice Brandeis

    Editing is just part of writing, and you aren’t done writing until there’s nothing left to add or remove that will better the finished product. In other words: it’s the nature of the beast, scribe. The nature of the beast.
     
  4. AntPoems

    AntPoems Senior Member

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    I've found that the best way to figure out what needs to be revised in a piece is to send it off to your dream publication. The moment you hit submit, all its flaws become instantly clear. :cry:
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    This is so true.
     
  6. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    Sympathies, DR, I feel you.

    Asking for ideas - spitballing here, since I've used this technique myself sometimes. Have you tried doing it in dedicated stages? Depending on the length of work, I will go through for the content/structure/ordering of ideas pass, clarity pass, then a "flowery" pass for swapping out words for more potent ones or improving verbs or adjectives, and then refine down to a final line edit pass to double-check, and then finally SPAG.

    It doesn't work for everyone, it doesn't always work for me... as i say, depends on the length really of what I'm working on. But when I'm feeling as you do, it sometimes helps me feel as if I'm tackling one set of problems at a time, and not playing whack-a-mole.

    Either way, we all feel this way. That's why we're sado-masochists... you gotta be one to still be a writer, writing, knowing this part is coming. hehe
     
    B.E. Nugent and deadrats like this.
  7. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Dog mom Contributor

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    I almost feel guilty admitting it, but I kind of like doing revisions.
     
  8. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    maybe study whether there's a pattern to the kinds of things you end up revising each time. If there is, next time during the writing process, pay extra attention to it. Also are you a pantser or plotter or something in between? Because I'm pretty sure the pantser's revision process will usually be longer and harder than the plotter who has the general structure and logic of things already in place.

    Otherwise, sometimes it's just how ideas germinate. You can't rush the growth of a flower, or ask a tree to bear fruit before its time. Could be this is just how you work and what your writing needs. Writing takes time to mature.
     
  9. Hummingbird Alley

    Hummingbird Alley Member

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    I definitely feel your pain.

    For my next revision, I'm going to try using "Manuscript Makeover" by Elizabeth Lyon. To be honest, I've had the book on my shelf for 10 years and while I read it, didn't actually do very many of the steps inside. After finishing my latest novel, my goal is to go one by one through them all and hopefully learn something I haven't in my current editing/revision process.
     
  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    It's like every time I look at something or even put it down I think of alterations I want to do on my writing. Without fail there are always alterations that can be done. And the story is always better for these changes.
     
  11. KaReX

    KaReX New Member

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    The most easy thing is to have a lot of dialogs. You can then say: it is not my bad writing (grammar), those characters just talk like that. :) And you could be saying truth. Some bandits would hardly be using nicely correct language.

    How much perfect it should be also depends on if you want to sell it or give it for free. I rather say: please forgive, that the language is not the best and enjoy the story, I give it to you for free. :) Making the story gramatically perfect would be insane for me.

    But I understand that some revision is needed. So I read it at least once or twice and I try to fix all typos or sentences, that look weird. But I don't know if there is any shortcut. Probably only hard work if you want it to be absolutely perfect.
     
  12. AntPoems

    AntPoems Senior Member

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    You know the old line: "A work of art is never finished, only abandoned." The key is finding that balance between revising old pieces and writing new ones. Sadly, I have no tips for you there, since I'm in the same boat, spending too much time polishing the old and not enough creating something new.
     
  13. Hummingbird Alley

    Hummingbird Alley Member

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    I'm in the editing phase of my latest work and right there with you. I have a cut file of 40 pages. I can only hope that I'm actually making the story better and not worse...o_O
     

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