Revision. The word strikes terror in writers everywhere.
Remember when you thought writing the book was the hardest thing ever?
Now looking back it seems like it was the easiest thing ever?
You thought your days of hardship were over and you put your manuscript up and celebrated!
Unfortunately, revisions are like what my furry editor in residence will tell you about his latest kitty treats.
Revisions work similarly to my cat’s version of the story I’m about to tell you. The neighbor a few doors down from me bought a whole bunch of these lil cans of salmon and cheese flavored cat treats. His kitten loves them, can’t get enough of them. So he brought over a couple cans for my cat as well. After all, what cat doesn’t love a fish flavored treat, right?
He got all excited watching me pull the can from the sacred spot where his treats are usually kept. Since he loves tuna, cod and crab we figured we’d give salmon a try.
Now mind you this cat has been caught on numerous occasions stealing everything from broccoli flowerets to making off with a piece of pepperoni, sausage, mushroom and onion pizza off my plate. He eats anything and tries to help himself to my sacred banana milkshakes.
I opened the can and he doing his little “Oh goody I’m getting a treat dance!” I sit it down in his little area so he knows he can have it.
First the smell hits him. Then he edged his nose in it thinking I had hid the good stuff on the bottom of the can. He moved his little nose all over that can. His little shoulders slumped back as he pulled back his face all covered in this nightmare of a treat.
He had a confused look on his face like “What did I do so wrong to deserve this?” He refused to lick his off his face instead walked over to the rug he uses to scratch on, and proceeded to rub off as much of the horrendous treat as he could. He gave me a dirty look and stalked off to one of his many hiding places.
Like my cat, I’m sorrowfully disappointed. I knew writing would be hard because it is first and foremost work. You have to basically scrap out the fantasy image in your head of a writer and actually start writing. If you can manage to get through the first draft, congrats! This is the part that trips up most wanna be’s.
But if you thought it was hard trying to come up with 70,000 + words or more/less depending on what you’re writing was nerve wracking; let alone shoving a dirty sock into your inner editor’s big mouth after tying him up and locking him in the closet till you finished the 1st draft.
Then you have to sit back and twiddle your thumbs or come up with another synopsis for a new story while you’re waiting for the story and you to get some distance from each other like a couple who has just had a major fight and each go to their separate area of the house to cool off.
This is the area I should excel at. I mean all I got to do is relax and find something else to do, right? Wrong, oh so wrong! I was like a lil kid waiting for spring break only to find out I had summer school! By the time the two month cool off period warmed back up I was all ready for revisions!
I just came off a two week binge of caffeine induced revisions trying to fix the areas I noticed while reading the beginning of my story.
Re-configuring the beginning hook, changing the POV, going into a bit more detail describing the setting. It seems the more revisions I did the more I found. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “Why was it that I wanted to be a writer in the first place?”
Back when I was really little I had somehow came up with the crazy notion I wanted to be a writer. That meant long hours put in to reading, writing, and the ever notorious grammar monster that rears it’s ugly head when you break a grammatical rule. Trust me I’ve made plenty of them. And that was just the start. By the time I hit 9th grade and had short stories section for a couple weeks, it got even harder.
I began to get more perplexed when I learned that there are 3 rules of writing but no one knows what they are. SO how do YOU know if you break them? Are they the 3 parts of the story First Draft, Revision, and Final Rewrite? If so, Revision seems to enjoy making ya fall on your face. Now here I am, I made it past the 1st draft and I’m beginning to feel like my cat did when he got a whiff of the crappy kitty treat.
I blink and look around, puzzled as to how I wound up here. Maybe after this nightmare round, I can go hide in some favorite cubby (i.e. my bed) for a good solid week, The crappy kitty treat writer’s call revisions just a smelly remnant of a memory best forgot till the next 1st draft has been penned.