The Dirtiest Word in the Business

Actually, if you ask a dozen writers, you’ll get a dozen different answers, but this is my blog, so my dirtiest word is the one in play.

Revisions. I’d rather write a hundred new pages than revise twenty already-written ones. It’s been that way since the very beginning. You’d think after twenty-plus years and seventy-some books, I would have accepted it as a natural part of the writing process and quit dreading/hating/angsting over it, but no such luck.

It doesn’t matter whether the requested revisions are good for the book or not (I’ve had both). It doesn’t matter whether they’re major or minor (had both of those, too). I just don’t like the revisions process. At all. Any part of it. Besides finishing it.

I used to hate writing synopses, but I got past that. I also hated having to rework plots to make editors happy, but I got over that, too. But I don’t think I’m gonna get over hating revisions. My idea of a perfect setup would be where I write the book and someone else does the revisions. Heaven.

Go ahead — taunt me. Tell me how much you love revisions, how you look on it as a chance to make your story that much closer to perfect, how you need the polishing process to feel whole. I’ll snort when I take a break from banging my head against the Revision wall.

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13 thoughts on “The Dirtiest Word in the Business

    • But you seem so accepting about them. When I hear an editor say, “I’d like to see just a few changes,” I cringe and imagine the absolute worst . You’d think when it turns out not to be that, I could deal, sinceit could obviouslybe worse, but I still hate it. {{Shudder}}

  1. Revisions. Not my favorite thing. Especially if it’s major, which totally makes my head spin. {Create your own visuals with that comment. lol} I think I’d rather scrub toilets.

    Having said that, I will admit I recently went back to Alaska Heat and have started revising it. I’ve been away from it long enough that I can see major plot holes and problems. I can SEE what I need to do, but sitting down and actually doing it are two different things. 😦 But at least I have a direction to go. Wish it would turn out half as good as one of your books, Marilyn.

    • I like that visual, Linda!!!

      Good luck with your Alaska Heat work. It is nice to go back and reread something and be able to see where you need improvements, because that means you’ve learned and honed your skills since writing it. You’ll do a great job on those rewrites — and learn even more in the process. Isn’t that cool?

    • Oh, hallelujah, yes, Barbara Ann!!! I’ve been blessed enough to have that happen a few times, and it’s the most wonderful thing in the world. Heaven, indeed!!

  2. When you’re on a tight schedule, it certainly puts a crimp in it to have to stop for revisions.

    I think part of my problem, too, is that when I’m done with a book, I’m DONE with it. I don’t want to spend time with those characters anymore. I’m already on to something/someone else. Going back to the last story is like a big step back when I’m all primed to move forward.

    I’ll try not to do too much damage to the head. It may be the only part of my body that’s not already hurting enough. 😉

  3. Marilyn,

    How do you do the revisions they specify without wanting to rewrite the whole thing. Sometime swhen I start chaning words, even just one little thing, it begins a massive overhaul. *sighs* One idea creates another and another and by the time I’ve finished, it’s like I’ve written a whole new book. 😀

    That just makes me simple, doesn’t it? Am I excluded from the writer’s group?

    • You’re about the farthest from “simple” of anyone I know!!

      For me, changing only what they ask (and any side changes that affects) is probably a case of two things: laziness and boredom. I’m already done with the book, as far as I’m concerned, so I don’t want to expend a huge amount of effort on revising it. And the boredom . . . I think I write relatively fast because I get tired of my characters and story pretty quickly. If they’re still hanging around a week after I had expected to be done, I’d just as soon kill them all. 🙂

  4. Not that I’ve ever been asked to do rivisions (lie, lie), but I have to admit I hate them too. By the time I’ve finished the book, I’m sick of it. When my first book came out, I didn’t even read it for over a year.

  5. So Marilyn,

    Do you remember an episode of Night Gallery where this guy dies. He wakes up in the darkened room and has to watch a slide show of this elderly couple’s vacation trip over and over. That was his Hell. But for the couple, that was their version of Heaven. So revisions are your Hell. But somewhere out there is a editor who dying to ask someone to make “just a few more revisions.”

    • LOL, Lynn! How true! And I’ve had that editor more than a few times!!!

      One of the funny things for me is that it doesn’t matter whether the revisions are good or bad, major or minor: I hate them either way. I’m just SOO not a revision person.

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