The Pain and Perils of Revision

I just “finished” a book I’d been working on for nearly a year. Every writer will understand why I put the word finished in quotes, because, truly, it is never really finished until it is published, is it? The manuscript just sits and smolders with possibilities for re-phrasing, scene enhancement, better character development, and won’t let you go until it heads out the door for publication.

The annals of literature are full of great authors who compulsively revised until the very last minute, so we are in good company, but it doesn’t dispel that vague unease one has that the book could be made “better” with a few more well-placed last minute tweaks.

For me this is the most difficult stage of the writing process, in no way akin to the rush and thrill of writing first and even second drafts. I have a few more months left to continue to torture myself with “tweaks” and slight improvements–and who knows? The book may actually profit from them.

At the very least I’ll know I did all I could, gave it my best shot. Oh, that it were over and done with, but it won’t be until I simply run out of time 🙂

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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12 Responses to The Pain and Perils of Revision

  1. bowmanauthor says:

    So accurately phrased. When the writing is done, the story and scenes set, the characters given you all the surprises you hadn’t even imagined … then the grueling work begins.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Margaret! I would like to buy your new book. Greetings from Lisbon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very moving remarks, Mario. Thank you.


  4. SD Gates says:

    Writing is so much more enjoyable than revising, because the writing part ends, but the revising seems to go on and on and on………….!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. D.G.Kaye says:

    Very succinct. Yes, the writing is the best part! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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