Thursday, April 16, 2015

Revisions - Re-envisioning your story

As you've probably guessed, I received some revisions today. I don't complain about them. For one thing, I spent so many years wishing an editor would give me the time of day, I know that it's actually a privilege to receive feedback. I also know my editor is as invested as I am in making my stories as good as they can be so she's not saying what she says to torture me or anything. It's vegetables and cardio, for my own good.

But revisions are a challenge. In this particular WIP, the heroine has just had a baby so I feel like I need to make at least a month go by before the hot and heavy stuff starts between her and the hero. I thought I'd keep them in London and send them to Italy once she's pretty much been cleared to 'resume relations.'

My editor has asked if I can get them to Italy sooner. No, I whimpered mentally. Not because I think it's a bad idea, but because writing is a process of making decisions and if you don't decide and commit, you have a wishy-washy story that wanders around all over the place. So you make a decision and you hold it in your heart and then... revisions.

What if they do go to Italy? In the original draft, I had them going directly to the ancestral estate, but should I move that month they spent in London to his townhouse in Naples? Suddenly a whole new set of decisions has to be made and the story that I had in my head has to be, well, re-envisioned.

Now, on the personal side, my husband is renovating our en suite. We--I'm using the royal we because he's doing all the work--have taken out a shower and are putting in a tub and shower, moving a  wall to do it.  When I told him about these revisions, he said, "You don't have to tell me about the challenges of revision." No sympathy there, apparently. Not that I'm complaining.

Side note: while I was writing this post, he called me in to look at said wall that is being removed and we realized we both had completely different visions of how the other side of that wall would turn out. It backs onto our closet and he thought shelves while I said I thought it would be completely open. We both stood there staring at the same bare studs, trying to see what the other was proposing.

And then he said he'd have to move some studs and put in another one over here... It's all about studs in our house at the moment, as he holds a hammer and wears worn out jeans. But I digress...

The point is, revisions are part of just about any process, I suppose. There is no way that every word that goes onto the page is gold. Goodness knows, there are published stories I want to go back into and tweak. Even as I write this short post, I'm backspacing and changing my mind and clarifying my thoughts.

Most importantly, if you're not willing to look at things from other angles, then go in and do the work to improve, you're going to have to keep climbing into that grotty old shower. No one wants that.

So I'm going to quit using the writing of this post to avoid the hard work of making new decisions. Time to get on with my revisions. Are you re-envisioning anything in your personal story?


Liz Flaherty said...

There's an excitement factor to revisions, though, isn't there? And, of course, new bathrooms.

Dani Collins said...

Ha! Yes, there is. I'm feeling like I have another chance to improve my story, for sure. Same goes the bathroom--I'll have more storage, so I'm excited about that, lol.

dstoutholcomb said...

There's always room for revision in my life. :)