Thursday, June 28, 2007

Revisions – Will the book ever be what I initially conceived in my mind

Reading the new romance writers report this eve, and there’s this really great interview with Vicki Lewis Thompson. She quotes Barbara Samuel on revisions, basically saying the book is never going to be as good as she initially imagined, so at some point, she stops revising and lets it go.

I feel very much the same. I know the book is never going to live up to my initial concept and expectations, and I usually realize this during the revision process. Not to say I’m not proud of my work, but this is where the real self doubt hits, and I start to sweat the small details, the big details and focus on what’s wrong and not what’s working.

This is the part where I procrastinate, worry, doubt and lose some of the love of the process.

I’ve written enough to know it’s coming, to muscle through it, and finish the book, but in the past this certainly has derailed me for a couple of books.

But I know other writers that love this process, that fall in love with their books during this part of the writing. I’ve always wondered, is this because they know they can match their work to their initial expectations?

I would love some insight into this. Most writers I know are a wonderful mass of self-doubt and worry, and most second guess their books long after they’ve started submitting them.

Someday I would love to send a book into the world confident it was as good as I could possibly make it.

I’m a ways away.


Maureen McGowan said...

I'm definitely a big bowl of self-doubt 98% of the time (don't need to tell you that, Sinead. LOL) But I don't really have the same "not living up to expectations" thing it sounds like you do. Perhaps because i don't plot my books out enough or think them out enough before I start to have very high expectations at that point. I go through most of my terror/self doubt during the first draft stage.

But this confusion/inability to think straight thing I'm going through doing revisions this time is scary.

Molly O'Keefe said...

i was just thinking about this the other day as I was sitting down starting a new first draft. And I realized that as I'm writing that first draft - before I reread anything - as the dialogue is coming to me without edits and the characters are only in my head - THAT'S THE ONLY TIME it seems as good as it seems in my head. As soon as I read what I wrote I see it for what it is -- a rough first draft.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about the rough draft, Molly. Love that feeling, for however long it lasts..
Which isn't very long usually.

Gotta love the mess of doubts and worry that comes with this.

Molly O'Keefe said...

We do? We gotta love it? I was hoping we could trade it in -- for a puppy or something.

Inkpot said...

Lol, I love the comments on this post! I would say I am mostly a mess of self doubt. I have an idea, a feeling or what I want to achieve with my book. I think of it as the idealised version, and I think I am doing ok until I actually read what I've written and it is like comparing a stick man to ...erm... say Nathan Fillion (drools). Is it possible for the book on the page to live up to the book in your mind? I don't know, but I hope you get it pretty close. I'll let you know if I succeed :)

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