A writer’s plight

Writing is easy for me, as it is for most authors. I love watching the characters in my head come to life and create a world around me.

I was once told in one of my writing courses that it’s fine to love to write, but if you want to be published, you have to love revision. That’s the hard part. Loving to revise.

To a certain extent I do like to revise. Finding better sentence structure, locating over-used phrases, using a Thesaurus or website to find a much better word than I originally used. All of that is likable, even fun. But when you get back a twelve-page summary from your editor that begins with: cut the first 44 pages, suddenly revision is no longer lovable, not even likable.

The hard revisions that require story structure, eliminating minor characters, developing more scenes with a particular character – none of those are “fun.”

It’s tempting as a writer to simply open a drawer, cram the damn manuscript inside and forget it. It’s tempting to say, the editor is wrong and I love my own words. It’s tempting to set fire to it!

In the past, I’ve stepped back for a period of time and realized how much time, energy, creativity, and work I have put into the book so far. It’s usually enormous. That’s when my stubbornness rises and I get out my red pencil, my yellow highlighter and my computer and go to work.

I’m stubborn enough that I have to prove to myself that I’m capable of doing this and no one is going to stop me. In my family it’s called the Poole stubbornness and the Poole temper. Guess I can blame my dad for this trait. Or thank him ….

I’ll let you know which in a week or two … Now, to re-read that 12 page summary …


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