Writing, revising, and the magic in between

For most of this year, I’ve been revising a novel. With the encouragement of family and friends, I finished writing it around the end of January. I thought it might take a few months to revise. Instead, it took about a year.

It’s easy to get frustrated with revising. At first, it doesn’t seem as fun as writing. It can be a slow process and sometimes I’m not sure if all the revising makes the story better or worse. Sometimes I revise too much, to the point of excessive second guessing. I’ll change a sentence, then change it back, then change it again. That’s when the fun really begins.

So I was surprised to learn that revising can be just as fun as writing. I’ve gotten to know the story and the characters better this year. They did a few things they hadn’t done before, unexpected things that ended up strangely making sense.

One of the things I love about writing is when the words somehow fall into place and something comes through that wasn’t intended. It just works and it’s magic. That can happen with revising too. While deleting scenes or chunks and adding different ones in, I never know exactly what I’m doing. I only know as a reader when something doesn’t work. Then I tear it to pieces. Somehow the pieces fall back together. I still have no idea how that happens.

I’ve heard writers say they don’t feel like they’re the ones writing. When the writing is working, it does feel that way. So then when the writing or revising isn’t working, it’s probably just me interfering with the magic.

Because it’s magic, I can’t fully figure it out. I just have to try not to interfere with it too much.

5 thoughts on “Writing, revising, and the magic in between

  1. Ha! I can totally relate. I’m in the process of writing my first novel, but I’ve definitely revised short stories intended for publication. And I know exactly what you mean. Also, I couldn’t have said this any better myself: “I’ve heard writers say they don’t feel like they’re the ones writing.” How true that is!

    Thank you for subscribing to my blog today. 🙂 I checked out your website and saw you grew up on Judy Blume. She was my FAVORITE author growing up. Did you know she’s on Twitter? Best of luck to you and your novel! Keep trying. I heard THE HELP received 60 rejections before someone gave it a chance. 60!

    • Thanks Shari! I do love Judy Blume. Her adult novels are really good too, but the kid ones will always be special. I don’t know if I could survive that many rejections, but will give it a try. I guess The Kite Runner also had a lot. Good luck with your writing! I’ll make sure to stop by to see how it’s going.

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  3. 🙂 Good luck. Actually I love revising… revisiting my friends and seeing just how they got up to what they got up to. My first drafts often turn out like a script (LOL). Then the details must go in by looking closely at what is happening. But I agree – it can be very frustrating, especially if The Editor or any of the proofreaders (“beta tasters”) tell me something makes no sense. Got to have a thick skin and a compliant nature… 😉

    • Thank you. You’ve probably heard this before but one thing that helps when it’s not making sense is to put it away for a while. I take breaks from the novel by revising short stories. That helps a lot and I’m always surprised when I go back into whichever one that there are so many obvious changes to make.

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