Monday, December 19, 2011

Other Thoughts on Revision

So I’m finishing up the revision of Blood Tells True, sequel to Burden Kansas.

I’m really tired of reading it.

And I like rereading my own work. It’s like gazing at my beautimous reflection in a clear pool. I could do it for…EVAR.

That’s mythology yo!

Here’s the thing about revision: unless you have a big breakthrough, at some point, you get diminishing returns. Now of course, a typo caught on the fifth read is as valuable as one caught on the first, but I’m talking about language tweaking.

Because at some point, you’re changing things almost no one else will notice. If you can pull a reader in so that they forget that they’re reading and forget about you, the writer, then they’re going to roll with what you’ve given them. You need to be able to judge that line.

Some things that remind a person that they’re reading? Inconsistencies, typos, grammar errors, and yes, clunky language.

But you get diminishing returns. You could revise forever. At some point, you have to let it go.

Aren’t I the same person who said that revision is where a lot of the magic happens?

I am, and I still believe that. But I believe this to. Especially if it can help justify me not having to read this damn book much more.

Check out the origin of Penny Dreadnought, written by most Abominable Gentleman James Everington.

That night, they were bitter drinkers, in both senses of the word. Pints of Blue Monkey were being drunk, but despite that, the mood was morose. Ryker had started a conversation about what passed for genre fiction in the modern world.

"Sparkly vampires..." he said, between gritted teeth.

Everington used some choice words of Anglo Saxon dialect.

Dr. Rowan spat into the fire.

Col. Polson almost swallowed his cigar in righteous anger.

Loves it!


  1. I think there's a Carver quote, about how he stopped editing when he found himself re-inserting commas he'd removed on the previous check through...

  2. I know that quote and I know it's truth. But I think I've heard it attributed to like 10 different authors!

  3. I think we can safely say it wasn't Dan Brown.

  4. Ouch!

    Hey, he could be writing to the absolute limit of his ability. No, that's a terrible thing to say. I'm sorry DB.

  5. Wow, no one's said, "Hey, Narcissus" yet.

    At least you finished the damn novel. I'm still flailing about trying to get good and started. I've got three in the fire...which is probably part of the problem.

  6. I'm surprised that all correspondence directed at me doesn't begin, "Hey, Narcissus,"

    I know what you mean about multiple projects. There is a downside. But, I really think it's the reason I never have writers block. If I can't think of what to write next, I move on to another project until my subconscious works things out.