Thursday, April 22, 2010

Revising and Preparing for Derby

In my last post, I talked about how writing is like preparing for the Derby. Today, I'd like to go a little further and discuss how revising relates to the Run for the Roses.

Every year about this time, tracts of land in Jefferson County are mowed. This is how we know Derby is around the proverbial corner. The city wants Louisville to shine and sparkle for the bevy of out-of-town guests.

Writers do the same with their manuscripts. A first draft is often rambling, verbose, and generally just plain bad. So we take out the red pen or blue pencil and start cutting. We mow down sentences that don't add anything. We even cut entire chapters if they drag our beginning. Info dumps? Hacked away. And we keep doing this until we have a shiny, clean manuscript we can send to our critique partner. Even after a book is accepted by a publisher, we'll still be asked to fine tune it.

Revising a book isn't a one-time deal. Maybe the city of Louisville can get away with mowing grass once a year, but we writers don't have that luxury. A book left unrevised doesn't get submitted. And no submission means no publisher contract. And no publication means no chance for sales and (hopefully) that coveted best seller list.

Happy Writing and Revising!

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