Saturday, October 23, 2010

Revison Horror

10:36 AM | ,

I love writing 'The End'. It's a bit sad and I know I'll miss my characters. No, let me rephrase that, I'll miss discovering all the little things about my characters that I didn’t know when I started the journey. Especially their quirks, sense of humor, and the unexpected lines that sometimes pop out of their mouths. It's always a sad goodbye. Think of Joan Wilder in ‘Romancing the Stone’.

That is until I realize I'm headed for, as one of my friends calls it, 'the suck from hell'. Yes, I'm talking about rewrites, revisions, edits, whatever you want to call it. I can hear it pulling in my time and at my brain like a black hole. I put it off as long as possible because I want to remain in love with my characters. They are my children and I hesitate to take them to slaughter.

The amazing thing about rewrites is that I find out how good I am, and how bad. Now my friend Claire Ashgrove will tell you that I spray commas all over the place, much like a boxer's spit when he's hit with a good right hook. My grammar needs a lot of work. I notice some of the stimulus/response is backward. Sheesh! But then, in the midst of all this mess, I find gems that I can’t believe I wrote. They make me laugh, cry, and sigh as the romance goes forward.

So, now I’ve fixed the most egregious mistakes and send the work out to my critique partners. I’m confident they will say it’s great and send it out for submissions. The poor thing comes back bleeding. I look over their comments and decide which areas of the story have to be reworked. Poor baby. This means I have to start from the beginning and reread, fix it, and send it back. More revisions. By now I’m getting a little tired of my characters. I know them backward and forward. Sometimes they even begin to annoy me – like my least favorite aunt with the grating voice. It’s one more time around the revision block.

I send it off and it sells. Yay!! Now the editor takes a whack at it. Three more edits later, I’m ready to kill every one of my beloved characters in the most bizarre and satisfying ways. I’m itching to go on to the next book. The creative fires are burning bright and I’m stuck in revision hell.

There is a happy ending to this horror story. The first time I saw my book cover and it’s love all over again. Yes, found find things I wished I’d changed, things even my critique partners and my editor missed but it’s done. Now all that’s left is wait for the review—but that’s another story.

Dyann Love Barr

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