Thoughts on the Revision Process as I Wrap My Seventh Draft

The manuscript is due - the terrifying FINAL version- on 11/1. I have one more round of edits after this. Hold me.
  1. I have discovered, this draft, that the book is much better than I remembered!
  2. I felt very uncertain, almost resigned, after the sixth draft.
    My initial passionate love of this book had died about draft or two ago. Now it's about putting in the work. I just finished Open, and in it, Agassi often says that tennis is about just putting in the work. So too with writing. A lot of people misunderstand this. Put in the work.
  3. I need to remind myself that this love-hate relationship will probably continue for the rest of this book's life. (And mine too.)
  4. I revel, literally take pleasure, in cutting passages.
  5. Editing is about revising, yes, but also so much is about judicious axing.
    When you are writing an early draft, you're working toward getting to an acceptable word count. Now I am paring it back to get BACK to that word count.
  6. I am a big fan, evidently, of internal exposition.
    This is my writing crutch. This is also the biggest thing I am cutting.
  7. I am also a big fan of adverbs.
    All getting cut, she said excitedly.
  8. Dialogue, at least when I write it, needs about three drafts before it really sounds perfectly natural. Oh how I love perfectly natural dialogue.
  9. The people who email me to complain about swear words are going to have a lot to complain about.
  10. Editing, like reading, is subjective and too many cooks in the kitchen can be confusing.
    My editor is suggesting that I add in some ideas that earlier readers had suggested I remove. Proof that a change isn't always better - they just please different readers - and ultimately, you have to gut check what is most true to the story.
  11. And on that note, trust your instincts.
    I don't regret removing those aspects of the story, only to be folding them back in...because I truly do know that they are right for the plot now...but I do think my initial instincts were right in several cases, and it's okay to stick to your guns.
  12. But be flexible!
    My editor has made a few suggestions that I'd never have thought of and absolutely have made the book better. I think of editing as a collaboration, and I welcome input.
  13. I could probably revise this ms ten more times and still not be satisfied.
    This is why I, and I think a lot of other writers, don't reread our backlists. Nothing can be changed even when you'd like to.
  14. But I would rather jump off a bridge than revise this ten more times.
    Please don't make me.
  15. There is something really magnificent about finally working on the draft when you know you are making the book better, not worse.
  16. I think I'm really gonna love this when it's done, even if that feels impossible. ❤️