My Love/Hate Relationship with Revisions

Hate is probably too strong a word here.

But I don’t think there is a word to describe the anticipation and trepidation you feel when you expect revisions from your editor. You check your emails every day, relieved and disappointed when you don’t see a new mail in your inbox. If there is a new mail – but that mail isn’t from your editor – you sigh and move on. And then, when you finally do receive that mail, you open it, your heart in your throat, and quickly scan through the body of the email, seeing only a few choice words:

“…lovely story…a few areas of revisions…attached document…”

So you open the attached document, and you scan through the revisions. Once you’ve assessed the damage and you’re finally able to breathe once more, you go through your revisions again. This time, processing them, working out how you feel about them, and then planning how to apply them.

No, I don’t think there is a word to describe all that.

But the worst part about revisions is the beginning – and sometimes, middle – when you’re not sure how to apply them or whether the way you’re applying them is good enough. Sometimes it feels like they’re taking forever, especially when you’re stuck on the same scene for the better part of a day.

All of that’s happened to me this week as I’ve worked on revisions for my second book. But I’ve just sent my revised manuscript to my editor, and that means I can tell you how grateful I am when I get to do these revisions. You see, revisions mean a professional with experience and insight is helping me improve my story. I get to learn more about story-telling and how to use certain devices to get my readers to have the best time when they’re reading my book. I learn how to solidify my plot, how to make my characters stronger, more believable, and how to make my readers fall in love with them – root for them – just like I do.

Revisions test your knowledge about your story and your characters. Since you’ve created them, they should be easy for you to apply. If they aren’t, they give you the opportunity to get to know your characters better. With each set of revisions, you’ll find your story – and yourself – grow.

And why wouldn’t you love something that does that?

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