Monday, May 9, 2011

Revisions: Part of the Process.

I haven’t written a blog in a week or so. You think I’m lazy, think again. Heavy duty revisions on a novel I thought completed about five years ago will do that to ya.

I’ve heard many a writer complain about editors or feedback that suggests something needs to be done to a piece of fiction the writer thought was done and ready to go. “What do you mean it’s not perfect?” Riiiiiight. What’s that quote from Leonardo da Vinci?

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Yeah, writing being my art, and me not afraid of constructive criticism, as long as the person constructively criticizing understands the work. Sure, my first response to an agent I’m working with on my first novel, The Corner of His Mind, suggested I lose this and that and tone this down, amp this up, was “but…but…” But then I took hold of her words as she got the novel, got what it was really about (the second novel as well--more work on that one soon) and lo and behold, hmmmm, look how that thrusts the story along at a better pace and, hey, now that I’m into the process, I’m seeing ways to make a very good story even better, cutting this, expanding that--Wow!

And here I thought it was...perfect.


(I don't believe I've ever used that word before.  Should I revise the brow-furrowing exclamation or...)

So, the morale of this brief blog, as I must get back to Corner…? Lose the ego and listen up, don’t get your head wrapped around the idea that what you wrote is perfect if you have aspirations towards anything more than selling copies to family and friends; not being rude, being honest, though ebook uprisings might alter a lot of that kind of thinking, of course (it already has, but that's a blog for another day). Stay true to the soul of the work, but when somebody in a position to help the work makes valid suggestions because, again, they get it, well, listen up, don’t be afraid, try it out, discard it if it doesn’t please you, but understand, it’s a part of the process that doesn’t always have to elicit dread.

When done right, it can make a story sing.

Now, let me get back to Medianoche, where devious deeds are about to play out…


  1. Sounds like heavy duty work indeed, John.

  2. It is, Alessandra, but it's rewarding because it's really opened my eyes to how much more, how much better, the novel can be. ;-)