Instead of posting my own Teen Tuesday blog, I invited someone else to post a guest blog, just for fun. So, to keep my rambling short, here is Kathryn Williams, the author of The Debutante!
Chelsie’s asked me to write a blog post for Teen Tuesday, and I feel really bad because it’s super late -- like two weeks late. If this were a school assignment, I would have gotten a big, fat, red ‘F.’ (Sorry, Chelsie!)
In my defense, the last two weeks have been occupied with revisions on my second YA novel, The Lost Summer, before it goes to the printer for ARC’s (advance reading copies). Which brings me to my point for this post… I HATE REVISING!!!!!!
Which kinda stinks, because it’s the most important part of the writing process. Seriously, revising is absolutely essential and what separates okay writers from really good writers. First drafts are never good. Never. (Here’s a great essay by one of my favorite authors on that topic.) Usually second drafts aren’t all that hot either. I’ve been working on my fourth draft (my first book, The Debutante, took six), which means I’ve read the book what feels like a thousand times. (So has my editor -- thanks, Liz!) Sometimes I’m just plain tired of reading the same words over and over.
And it’s hard to take a red pen to your own work. It’s hard to hack away at it, take out parts that you really love but that just don’t fit, and to add scenes here or figure out where just one more line might change the whole tone of a scene. It’s not easy. Sometimes my eyes glaze over as I’m looking at the page, and I’m thinking, “I’m never gonna get this right. Maybe I should go to cullinary school…”
I also feel like I could revise FOREVER. There are always words I would change or dialogue I might add. Even now as I read The Debutante, I want to call up my editor and ask, “Can we change ‘neglect’ on page 145 to ‘abandon?’” We can’t. The book is on shelves, where it’s supposed to be, and you have to know when to let it go. Which is part of why I hate revising -- it’s the song that never ends.
Still, as I slog through revisions, marking up my manuscript with a colored pencil yet again, creating a rainbow of colors with the notes already made by my (amazing) editor and copyeditor (it looks something kind of like this), I know that I’m making progress, even if I don’t feel like it. (If I were revising this blog, I would note that that was a run-on sentence.) I’m earning my readers. And while the book will never feel Done with a capital ‘D’, when I finally hold a finished copy in my hand, all those revisions will have paid off.
Which leads me to say, woefully, that while I hate revising, sometimes a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. It’s totally worth it.