Monday, July 25, 2011

If You're Boring and You Know It... Go Back to the Revision Cave

I hope I'm not the only one who has these moments: the ones where you're re-reading your painstaking work, and find yourself thinking, God, that sentence is so bland!  Or, geez, if that was supposed to be funny, holy epic fail.

What I want to know is, how does it happen?  Why does the first draft always sound so good in my head, until I read it a second time?  After all the years I've been writing, shouldn't it be sort of... effortless?

I'd really like to be immune to sucking.  I think I've earned it.

Unfortunately, the only thing worse than being UNhappy with your own writing, is being pretty happy with it, and then having someone tell you it's "almost there" instead of "there."

I had the good fortune to receive a critique of my first ten pages from an agent recently.  And while she didn't request more material, she told me she loved the concept and the challenge and that she'd welcome my query once I'd made some revisions.  Specifically, she loved my character's voice, but wanted it more consistent, and more of it.  Dripping with it, as she put it.  I'd actually been afraid this character's voice was a little over the top, and this agent actually wanted it moreso.  Color me baffled. 

I thought I'd wittled away anything that screamed "I'M BORING!" or "GINA IS AN AMATEUR!", but in reality, I'd only almost done it.  And we all know how well almost cuts it.  It doesn't.

So, while I know no one's world is going to collapse if my blog posting gets a little spotty over the next couple weeks, I just wanted to put it out there that I"ll be retreating to my revision cave. Feel free to throw me a pity party when I tell you that the cave is a tiny room on the top floor of a split level with no airconditioning :(  

Go to fullsize imageMy ms is officially a No-Boredom Zone.  Wish me luck!


  1. Oh, Gina. Careful about using the words "sucking" or "boring" in reference to your stuff, because I NEVER would. And I've read it. Sometimes multiple versions of it.

    We're all amateurs to begin with (no one knows that better than I do, HEL-LO.) The revision cave is awesome, but it can also get dark and cold. If you need cheerleading, you know where to find it.

  2. I'd cringe if someone told me to make my WIP drip with more voice--unless I could figure out how. Usually you already think it's bursting with voice, so how can you possibly add more?

    Good luck with dripping. :D

  3. It's so tough to know, truly. We're just too close to our material. We know the story in and out and we know how it should read, and we see that that way in our heads. It's why having others critique the work can be so invaluable. I don't know of a single person who can write a perfect ms without help. First drafts especially are always a mess, no matter how hard you try not to let them be. There are just too many things to consider (plot, plot twists, hints, characterization, romance, build-up, tension, hook, etc.) to be able to polish them all right out of the gate. Don't beat yourself up!

  4. Oh, I so understand how you feel. Good luck!

  5. Sending tons of luck your way :)

  6. Sending lots of good ju-ju your way!

  7. Gina, you are too hard on yourself. Good luck and try to enjoy your revisions in the non-a/c cave.

  8. Please don't feel bad! It's just one person's opinion! What have your critique partners said? Do they agree with the agent?