Just Revise And Watch the Exploding Fish

I’m in the middle of preparing my debut novel, The 8th Circle, for publication, a fascinating process that involves revision.

Oh yes. I did use the R word. After you have polished and polished your manuscript, maybe had it critiqued or edited and polished some more until you finally feel marginally confident that you have something acceptable, and you have secured an agent, and the agent has secured a book contract, an interesting process begins where the editor tells you how much he/she loves your manuscript and asks you to make a few revisions, which turn out to be rather larger than you thought.

This is not a complaint about the revision process, which continues two or three or more times. It’s a blessing to have an editor who cares enough about your manuscript to want you to make it better. Especially today. If F. Scott Fitzgerald hadn’t had Max Perkins, he might have penned The Notable Gatsby or possibly just Gatsby. In all probability it would not have been The Great Gatsby. This is why we now have the great controversy over Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, which most likely was an early draft of To Kill A Mockingbird that Ms. Lee never intended to be published.

I cringe to think of anyone reading my early drafts.

The point is you write drafts and revise them because that’s really how you learn to write. You can take classes on craft and plot and character building, but in the end you learn to write by writing and revising. If you can’t look critically at your own work and take constructive criticism about that work, you aren’t going to improve.

Sometimes it’s tedious. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes you want to rip your hair out. At that point, I suggest watching a ridiculous movie. I’ve already recommended Sharknado. Have you tried Mega Piranha? The fish explode. It’s awesome.

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