Friday, December 4, 2009

Is Writing Revising?

Before I get to my post, I have some things to say. It's about two of our blogging buds. As you know, my son is having some health issues. We've been traveling to the hospitals trying to find answers. About a month ago our sweet friend Davin mentioned that he would be willing to help us figure out what was going on with Christopher. Davin being a scientist, knew some doctors he could ask, plus I KNOW he did research. Now Davin DOES have a life. He works, he writes, and he has a personal life.

YET!

He took time from his life to try and help my son.

I wanted y'all to know what he did. Selflessly giving of his time to help a blogging friend. Davin, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You'll never know how much it meant. :)

Our other blogging friend Scott wrote a wonderful post about me loosing my precious Blue on his blog. He was there for me while Blue was at the vet and after he died telling me I would see my Blue again. Scott talked to me about the sadness of loosing Jordy and it really helped me get through. Like so many of you did. But Scott emailed me to check and see how I was doing. And then about a week later his precious Tasmyn had to be put to sleep.

I wanted to publicly thank him for being a true friend. Thank you Scott. :)

Thank you guys. And Davin I'll be returning your email. I just haven't had time to turn around. We had to make an unexpected trip to the hospital on Tuesday for emergency blood work for Christopher.

Now on to my post.

Revision is making a mess, not cleaning it up. When we revise, we aren't editing. Editing is cleanin' up the mess. It took me a LONG time to learn this. When we revise, we make new versions. Just think about it. Writing is revising. And MOST of my time is spent revising. If I could write a story perfectly, I wouldn't have to revise. BUT.

I can't. When I am revising a story, some of it gets much better and some of it gets much worse. Then I have to fix the part that gets much worse, and then, you guessed it. I have another part that gets worse. When I think a story is ready, then it's time to query publishers. Now when I say query publishers, I mean for my picture books. I have stopped doing this hoping that when an agent signs me he/she will want to sell my picture books. They are absolutely wonderful. :)

When I sit down at my computer, I just naturally believe that the words I write will be drastically improved from the last time I sat down to write. But.

That's not the case. Sometimes the words are better, sometimes they are worse. It's called learning. Figuring what my strengths are as a writer. Then making the most of them. And trying new things, but remembering it will take time to develop the new things.

Isn't that a HUGE mistake that new writers make? They write something, feel tremendous fulfillment, and immediately begin to query agents.

I want to make sure a piece, or a novel, or a picture book is finished before I query agents. Notice I did not use the word done. A story can be done, but not ready to go to agents. Finished means it's all set to go.

Thanks for reading. :)

33 comments:

  1. I'm one of those that takes years to revise and edit, so I guess I've learned not to send out too early.

    I'm praying for Christopher and your family during this trying time.

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  2. Eileen, I use to be the other way. I'd want to get it out too early. I'm not like that now, but after I wrote my first picture book I said to myself, "Dang that's good. They are going to plead with me to sign a contract." :) Of course I was a bit STUPID then. :)

    Thanks for your prayers Eileen. :)

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  3. I love your description of revision as making a mess! I definitely feel that way about where I am in the process. I described it in post (http://laurelgarver.blogspot.com/2009/11/frankensteining-severed-scenes.html) as taking TNT to a section then trying to rebuild, using useable bits where I could.

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  4. Robyn, wonderful post. I never thought of it that way...which is ridiculous. When I think back to the days that I could write longhand, my rough drafts were scribbled, re wrote, re worded, scratched, noted, everywhere. It bled. :0) Thank you for reminding me!

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  5. For me, revising/editing are one and the same thing. For the most part, the edit/revise phase is about eliminating the unnecessary and fleshing out the underdeveloped. Whoa, try saying that sentence three times fast. Even when I'm editing - searching for ly words, or just overused words - I also tend to revise, i.e., whoops, that paragraph's not necessary, and, oh, wait a minute, a sentence here would be quite brilliant, quite brilliant indeed.

    So, writing is writing - clear and simple. Editing and Revisiing - well, those definitions all depend on the user. I also think that editing/revising are hand-in-hand for many drafts of our brilliance, but, in time, we walk only with the editing friend, hand in hand, because our brilliance is almost shined to the utmost shine if only we could get rid of those pesky adjectives!

    Great post, my friend, and thanks for being there for me when I lost sweet Taz.

    S

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  6. Welcome laurel. And I read your frankensteining post. It was really good. And I will be thinking of that in revisions. :)

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  7. Kristi, it is making a mess. A great big wonderful mess. :)

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  8. Scott, writing is writing is revising is revising is editing is editing. Whew. Just as long as we git it done. And git it out to agents so they can read our beeeaaauuutiful words.

    And you are in my thoughts and prayers. Tasmyn was so precious ans beautiful. :)

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  9. Wow, you have some amazing bloggy buddies indeed. That's so wonderful of those two.

    And I think you opened my eyes about revising and editing. I always figured the two were synonyms. But you're right, you do make more of a mess when you're cutting scenes here and fixing scenes there. Editing is more like polishing and smoothing out the wrinkles--Cleaning.

    You're a genius. Thank you!

    I heard the coolest quote at one my writer's meetings. I think it came from Ernest Hemingway. He said, "A writer's story is never done, it's merely due," or it was something similar to that.

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  10. Praying for you Robyn! I'm so glad God is planting blessing along this journey that will strengthen you all.

    Revising sounds like another mountain of mayhem, but I look forward to the madness. Almost there- almost there!

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  11. Nice to hear about the great support from Davin and Scott. But I am sorry to hear you are having such a rough road. Hugs to you and family.
    Revising/rewriting can be so difficult and confusing. I can't remember (darn those dead brain cells) which author said she loved the process because she discovers things. So I've tried to look at it as an adventure not a trial.
    Linda, I love that Hemingway quote!

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  12. Linda, I do have amazing blogging friends. Like you! And cool quote! I love it. I must remember to tell the hubby about me bein' a genius. :) Can't wait to see his reaction. :)

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  13. Tamika, thank you for your prayers. And you're almost there, my friend. WOOHOO :)

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  14. Tricia, I love that quote too. And was it Gail Carson Levine or someone from long ago? I know she said something like that. :)

    And the family needs the hugs. Thank you my friend. :)

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  15. Robyn, I'll keep my prayers with your family and Christopher. The blogging community never ceases to amaze me. It's wonderful these friends could help you out or give you comfort in a way you really needed.

    I didn't really think I was revising my manuscript until I thought about your post. I am mostly editing but I am changing a few things and making it better. I'm not cleaning up the mess in every part but enhancing what I already started with. Cool post. I am super eager to send it out to agents but terrified at the same time. We'll see which emotion wins out.

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  16. Yep, revising is writing. I'm making all kinds of messes these days, but I will go back and clean them up.

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  17. Robyn, you've had a rough fall. I agree, we are so lucky to have kind blogger friends. My prayers are with you and your son.

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  18. One of my writing mantras is: You've got to mess up a story in order to make it better.

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  19. Cindy, Eager will win out. I'm sure of it. It is terrifying, I admit. But you'll be rarin' to send it out. :)

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  20. Susan, I love making these messes. They're great. :) Then comes the clean up. I love that too.

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  21. Jill, I know we're lucky to be in this blogging circle that we're in. It's wonderful. Thank you for your prayers. :)

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  22. Cindy, thank you for your prayers. We need them. :)

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  23. Thanks Shelli. :)I appreciate it. Can you believe it has been this long? Still no news.

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  24. *hugs* Robyn. I'm so sorry. I hope they figure something out really, really soon.

    I'd never thought about it this way before, but I think you're dead on. *revising* and *sympathy* cookies.

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  25. Hey Dani! Need the hugs. Like bad. Thanks. And the cookies are full of yummy chocolaty goodness. :) Mmmmm

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  26. Robyn,
    How incredibly touching to hear about what Davin and Scott did. That's SO amazing. It just shows how true and beautiful blogging relationships can be!

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  27. I almost hate getting interrupted during revisions more than during the first draft. It just leaves things so totally in flux.

    And I love your public thank you. What wonderful friends!

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  28. Jody, Blogging relationships are true and wonderful. Writers are the BEST group of folks in the world. :)

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  29. PJ, they are wonderful friends. As are you. And I am with you on NO disturbances during the revisions. :)

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