Friday, June 22, 2012

Did Your Revision Make Your Book Sucky?

Disclaimer: This is the post that I wrote yesterday. I meant to combine it with my 'Winners' post but it got too long, and I feel like this is an important post, so here it is right now :) KEEP IN MIND, I wrote this yesterday, and right after major revisions!

This was going to be a "Secrets" post, but I'm way too exhausted to devote the proper brain power to do it. Subscribe so you know when the "Secrets" posts will come :)

I just came back from 1.5 hours of solid revising, so if this blog post is a bit dreary or mean, well... too bad. Just joking. Kind of.

Do you know the revisions that I'm talking about? Where you change one scene in the beginning, and that dominoes into EVERY OTHER PLACE IN THE BOOK. And then you do basically a whole reading to get rid of all those references and you change up the dialogue and all that stuff!

I had to literally re-characterize the antagonist in my book. It was exhausting. And you know what the worst part is? I don't know if my revisions helped. I made my antagonist more caring, and that just sucks, because readers might actually like the antagonist now. And not as in 'respect,' but as in 'ooh, I hope nothing bad happens to her.' And that's not good. Kind of like how I felt about the Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman (go check it out. The Queen was one of the best developed antagonists in films (films) I've seen, second to Anakin Skywalker. He's the epitome of awesome antagonists). But this recharacterization was necessary to my story.

And so, here I am, all worried and anxious.

How can I tell if my revisions didn't make my book sucky?

The answer is that you can feel it. Honestly, I've been shying away from this recharacterization. I KNEW my antagonist was caring, but I didn't want to add it in due to storytelling purposes. But now (I hope) I feel that my revisions will help. I was being true to the story and true to what I felt.

Be true to your story.

Stephen King said that in revisions, you have to take out anything that isn't your story. Well, for me, it was adding stuff ;)

You have to develop your story and tell it how it was meant to be! If you KEEP coming back to it, KEEP reading over what you did, your revision might suck. That means you have that nudge in the back of your head or that gut feeling. Of course, wait a day or two before you consider it; all revisions make writers antsy. Let it simmer and then see if they were good changes. If you revise based on feedback without understanding where the critiques are coming from, your revisions will ring false, they will be phony, and you will not be true to your story.

And that, above all, is poison to your book. Every false revision you make tears apart your book, and that's how I feel about my book right now. But I'll do a reread tomorrow, see if my revisions make sense and how I feel about it. (See last paragraph to know how this turned out). Because if I revise with my brain fried like it is right now, I will do nothing but harm my story.

Wish me luck!

Edit from today: I have now decided to take a break from the chapter that caused me trouble. That means like a day, for me. I just came back from doing some line-editing on other parts of my book, and I feel SOO much better! Also, today in the shower, I was frustrated over the revision I talked about. And the reason was: my revision was not good enough. I solved the problem in the shower just thinking and thinking (and thinking) over it, and I have the plans for the new revisions all in my head. My previous revisions sucked. I'mna give it a few days so I don't do what I call, 'Panic Writing.' Panic Writing is the death of your book, so do NOT write if you feel frustrated or angry with your book. It just makes your revisions sucky.

Wish me luck in my new revisions! Eep! I feel SOO much better now! Contrast to today morning and last night, I actually am starting to like my book again, and I have hope in it :)

What revisions do you shy away from? Do you hate revisions? How do YOU know if your revision worked or not?


  1. I loathe major revisions like that. I think I've developed a defense mechanism and really, really struggle to make my first drafts as clean as possible. Not that this saves me from all revision, but it takes out a big chunk of it!

    Good luck on your revisions!

    1. Thank you so much! Oh gosh, I WISH I had that mechanism. In fact, my first draft was a mess before I fixed it up. Still recovering from it, hehe, but now that I think about it, this revision might be much easier than I thought.

  2. I've actually begun to enjoy revisions because as long as I don't panic, my book really benefits from it. Since my first draft, my book has become so much clearer and cleaner. It's not the revisions I'm scared of. It's the crits.

    To me, writing works like this: The first draft is basically like getting up in the morning. Your hair is all messed up, you're not dressed, you have a ton of errands to run. The revisions are doing everything that needs doing! It's fancying yourself up to face the day. Revisions are a beautiful thing.

    But I do agree with the fact they CAN get frustrating. There would be so many times you feel like you're done for the day and ready to face anything, but something just trips you up. So take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax.

    I have a bookmark with a saying on it that I really enjoy: "Perseverance: Rest when tired, just don't quit." Simple, to the point, and absolutely one of the best truths to go by.

    With that, I wish you luck on you revisions (:

    1. That is a GREAT analogy: Under all that messy heir and pajamas, there is a great person: Under all the adverbs and telling and junk, there might be a great book. It just needs a push.

      Oh, I LOVVEE revisions... after they are done. I love the feeling of seeping the poison out of my book and making it even better :) But the actual act of seeping the poison out... sigh. I love revisions though :) They allwaysss make my book better, and that's why I do so many revisions. I like crits for the same reason. In fact, I might be dumb, but I love crits more than revisions.

      It's like a spliter. It hurts when it is in you foot, hurts like HECK while you take it out, but once it's gone, it feels so much better.

  3. I hate having to do revisions like the one you are talking about. Honestly, just reading about you doing this one made me tired thinking about it.

    1. Hehe, I hate doing them, but once they are done, I love it :) But the actual doing... sigh. It IS very tiring!