Monday, May 31, 2010

For the past week I have been home from my day job, revising my work-in-progress. I've been writing, drinking mass amounts of green tea, not doing laundry or dishes, and generally living like a hobbit nestled in her hobbit-hole. If not for my basset hound, I probably wouldn't leave the house.

If this doesn't sound glamorous, then...well, you're right, it's not very glamorous. It's challenging work. I could revise a scene a dozen times only to cut it entirely in the next revision. I've written and then discarded dozens of pages—at one time a full 190 pages—in my gradual, sometimes painfully slow efforts to make a book better. But all of those pages that I deleted from the manuscript weren't entirely wasted. That experimentation is part of what writing is, for me. That's how I get to know my characters, figure out what they want most and develop their narrative voice.

Do I wish that it took me less time and fewer drafts to write a book? Yes and yes. In fact, it's probably my number one writing complaint. But wishing that my process was different doesn't make it easier, and in fact I'm convinced of the opposite. There are days when I get very frustrated. And there are other days when I embrace my process in all of it's slow, inefficient, haphazard glory. I take a journey with the characters I write about, and on the way we get to know each other very well. When we arrive, the landscape has changed, and I like to think the book is better for it.


  1. Some writers love revision, but not me! It's torture! I prefer drafting, when I get to see what happens next. But there's no way around revision!

  2. I do enjoy the revision process. My first draft is just a rush to get the ideas out and mostly contains dialogue. It's a basic outline, so my revising is when I get to focus on wording, reworking a character, tightening the dialogue, descriptions and setting. Each time I go through it, my characters are a little clearer.

    I'm also a grammar freak, so it's fun to look for mistakes. (I know, I'm weird that way.)

  3. I wish more people were grammar freaks.