September 26th, 2006
Rewrites and Doubts

I was dismissed from jury duty last night. YAH!!! It was REALLY close this time. I’m sure I won’t be so lucky next time.

A friend and I were speaking last night about how multiple rewrites affect a writer. I don’t particularly like edits, but I know they’re necessary and they make the books better in the end. I rarely fight editorial direction unless I strongly disagree with a suggestion. I’m always afraid of coming off as a diva–which I’m NOT by any stretch of the imagination. Just the opposite in fact.

That said, I do think that after a couple of rewrites that writers begin to lose confidence in their ability to write. I don’t think it can be helped. You pour your heart into that first rewrite and come up with something better, stronger and more believable. You think you’ve taken care of all the problems in the manuscript, only to find out that you’ve created more or veered away from your original vision so much that you don’t even recognize the book.

I’m sure there is a fine line that has to be walked here, but even after writing fourteen manuscripts I’ve yet to find it. Now I’ve read that several of the top romance writers tried their hand at writing category and never succeeded. I won’t know which camp I’ll fall into until I’ve finished this revision. All I can do is my best. If it falls short, then so be it. I can live with that and I’ll finally have my answer. 🙂

15 comments to “Rewrites and Doubts”

  1. If you’re just cut out for single title, that’s not all bad. *ggg* I do think it’s not unwise to waffle over doing more than one drastic rewrite, though, because you can rewrite all the life/originality/zing out of a book. Everybody has seen that submission that’s been rewritten, literally to death.

    Sky Goddess is such a great book, though, that I really want to see it fly! Pardon the pun.

  2. Whoops, that was supposed to be “not cut out for single title”. Oy. I’m comment challenged today!

  3. God, I so relate to this. I just did revisions on one ms. and am about to tackle another…and you’re right, it really undermines my faith in myself. Finding all those horrible, cliched, flat sentences. All the spots where I “tell.” Ugh. Bleah. It’s a wonder anyone has ever liked my stories, ever. (Isn’t that an awful thing to think about myself? Well, I’ll think I’m a genius again as soon as I’m done with these revisions and able to go back to the WIP. I hope that you’re soon re-convinced of your own genius status. 🙂 )

  4. Charli, I’ve read books like that too. They’ve been edited until there’s no emotion. I’m going to give it a try.

  5. Thank you, Catherine. I feel better now that I’ve talked to Jenny.

  6. Jordan,

    I hear you on the rewrites…that the story veers so much from your original one that you hardly recognize it. As for the self-doubts…I think writers are always their own worst critics. Your question about huge rewrites makes me wonder about a debut books that comes out and sells like gangbusters..wonder how many of those authors had to do a ton of rewrites? 🙂

  7. Patrice, I haven’t started doubting my abilities yet. (wg) Don’t know if I’ll be able to say that if they reject the rewrite I plan to do in November. *g* I definitely think writers are their own worst critics. It comes with the job, especially if you want to get better. As to your question about the bestsellers, not sure we’ll ever know. My immediate thought is that they’ve spent all their rewriting time before they ever turn the manuscript in. 🙂

  8. Again, Jordan, wishing you the best of luck.

    I tried for the brass ring on the category-go-round for a while, but just couldn’t give them what they wanted (not necessarily a reflection on them, probably my own stubborness).

    Hope it works out for ya!

  9. At least you’re trying for category, right? I took one look at the guidelines, and gave up immediately.

    As for rewrites…I’ve managed to rewrite 2 WIPs into oblivion in 2 years, and I appear on my way to my 3rd and 4th. Since I don’t have any advice for you, I’ll just say Good luck, and it’ll turn out better than you thought it would! 🙂

  10. Raine, I tried writing a Blaze years ago. It turned into a single title and finaled in the Daphne du Maurier. *ggg* That’s close, isn’t it? 😉

  11. Thanks May. I skipped right over the guidelines and just wrote, which is probably why there’s a second revision. Snort. Good luck with those other manuscripts. Hopefully you can salvage them before they reach the homogenized level. 🙂

  12. Edits can be a b****. But then they can be fun, revisinting a ms to make it stronger. I have one for St. Martin’s that I’ve set aside to finish the ms I’m working on now, and it’s one I’m not sure I’m looking forward to. Lots of work!

  13. I can SO relate to this right now! OMG, working on the first round of revisions on Bantam book 1 is kicking my ass. I don’t even want to look at the book anymore! LOL

  14. Chey, That’s what I’ve decided to do with this one. I’m setting it aside until I finish the urban fantasy. Maybe then I’ll be ready to tackle it. :-/

  15. Larissa, I bet. That’s where I’m at with this book. I don’t even want to think about it. I’ve heard that Bantam edits are tough (rewrite much of the book tough). Good luck finishing them. 🙂