Revision is Hard

That’s why people don’t do it, and that’s what separates pros from wannabes. It’s hard. It’s not fun like the first draft, and it’s not easy like the proofread. It’s hard work to fix the plot, rewrite scenes, add, subtract, kill off darlings that don’t work, and then tweak the prose to “sound good.”

Red ink from anyone is your friend. Once you proofread a novel, you learn to love it–because it means a mistake didn’t get through. And little mistakes always seem to get through. Any read ink you can get from anyone is gold.

Revision makes you feel like a failure, because all you do is correct errors. But a manuscript that doesn’t need revision is either a complete boilerplate story or a completely insignificant one. Significance, greatness, polish, publication-worthiness, all come from revision.

I’m in the middle of revising a novel now, and it is, in a word, depressing. This post is meant to help me cope with that. I hope it helps you, too.


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