Dramaquill's All Things Writing

June 3, 2008

Keeping yourself motivated on your revisions

Writing a first draft is an exciting adventure for me.  As I develop my characters and start to get to know them, I enjoy sending them into different situations and seeing how they react and respond.  I wait eagerly for them to push my plot into new areas and take me down new paths.  In fact, I even enjoy the research required to make my manuscript credible.

But we all know that the first draft is simply that.  It isn’t a polished manuscript, reading to submit to agents or editors.  (At least I hope we all know that!)

So, we send it through a critique group or writing partner and await feedback.  Again, an exciting time for me as I read comments and criticisms of my work, hoping to make the writing stronger and the book more saleable with each new batch of feedback.

Now comes the part of the process, and yes, I can hear some of you groaning, that I feel really takes the work:  Revisions.

When I first got my adult suspense novel back from Marilyn Henderson, with the 12 pages of single-spaced, typed critique, I cringed.  Could she seriously have this much to say about my masterpiece?  But as I read through her comments, one thing became clear.  Revising is necessary if I want a chance to get represented by an agent or publisher.

But with revision comes change – sometimes huge change. 

I took Marilyn’s advice to remove a character from my original draft.  This one revision sent a domino wave of changes through my entire manuscript, resulting in deleting complete chapters and totally rewriting others.  Sometimes it feels like I’m writing a whole new book.

Now, I’m submitting all my chapters to my online critique group, hoping to get enough feedback to make this final revision my best work possible.

But this project has dominated my writing life over the past two years.  There are times when I wonder if it’ll ever be polished enough to send out there.  And then, when it’s making the rounds, how long will it take before it gets noticed?  Or will it ever even get noticed?  When I think like this, it can become easy to just chalk the whole experience up to a exercise in the discipline of writing an entire novel and then move on to the new projects I’m anxious to begin.

So how do I stay motivated on continuing and finishing this final set of revisions?

* Knowing I have to submit to my critique group keeps me working on the
        revisions.

* When I get tired of revising, I research publishers and agents in my genre,
   which gets me excited to finish my manuscript.

* To help motivate me to workon the revisions, I keep a post-it on my
   computer that says, “How badly do you want it?”
 

* I re-read my book from the beginning and get excited about the story again.

* I read my favorite author, Mary Higgins Clark and picture one day being able
   to read a published copy of my own book.

* I talk about my project to friends who enjoy listening to the thoughts of a
   budding novelist, which gets me jazzed about my book all over again.
     

We’ve all heard it enough times:  Make sure you submit only your best writing.  Well, that’s what I intend to do.

Oh, and I forgot the most important way to get myself motivated to get back to my reivisions:  I blog about it!

Thanks for listening.  I’m off to re-write the next chapter.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments »

  1. I think for me, it is harder to be motivated during the submission process. When I am writing and revising, my excitement about the story itself keeps me going. I have quotes all over my computer to help me with this. My favorite is from John Gardner: “People will tell you that writing its too difficult, that it’s impossible to get your work published, that you might just as well hang yourself. Meanwhile, they’ll keep writing and you’ll have hanged yourself.” Christine Duncan http://www.globalwrite.wordpress.com

    Comment by globalwrite — June 23, 2008 @ 12:48 PM | Reply

  2. Oh boy, do I hear you. The submission process makes revising seem like winning the lotto. Publishing houses take so long now that your manuscript can be tied up for so long it becomes obsolete before it’s ever read LOL

    Love the quote – thanks for sharing.

    Comment by dramaquill — June 23, 2008 @ 7:38 PM | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Talk to me - what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: