Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Road to Revisions

Got a revision letter on the book I turned in a couple of weeks ago. Not that that's all that unusual. It happens to all of us (okay, most of us). At least after all these years, I know the routine. This is how it goes (sort of).
Image by jjpacres
Day 1: Me: "I can't do this. Okay, I can do it, but I don't want to do it. I hate, hate, hate ripping a book apart and then trying to put it together again. In fact, I don't even want to look at it...or think of it...or even know of its existence. I want to go back to yesterday when I was happy and pleasant and planning my next book...and actually having time to do some reading myself. Grr." Followed by lots more "Grr's" and me blowing my diet and exercise plan (which was coming along nicely, thank you very much) by eating chocolate.

Day 2: Me. "I don't want to look at the revision letter again, but I have to. The book isn't going to get written if I don't look at what they want me to do." Reads it for the twentieth time. "No. Not that. Not that either. Okay, maybe that. Maybe. And maybe not." Puts it down, walks away.

Later (often in the middle of the night): "How about this instead? That might work. Maybe."

Day 3: Stress, stress, stress. I don't like any of the ideas I've come up with; I don't like the solutions the editors have given me, and I really, really hate the book. Hate looking at it, hate thinking about it, hate everything about it.

Day 4 (or maybe 5): Me: "Eureka! I've got it. If I do this and change this, add a little of this and a bit of that, flip this point of view, add this character, completely axe this scene and insert these 3 scenes, delete that character and move this scene from here to there...yes, yes, yes!"

Days 6 through whenever: Me to husband or other family member: "Sorry, but I cannot go to the movies with you, make dinner other than something fast and frozen, exercise properly, or in any way be a normal person. I have to fix this book, the clock is ticking and I cannot leave my computer. I am invisible. I have to write the book, so just go on about your business and pretend I don't even exist."

Due date day: 3 or 4AM Me: "Finished. Finished. I finished and I actually like it! Finally Finally, I'm done. I'm free and the book is good!. Anyone want to party? Dance? Play basketball? Hello? Hello? Come on, you can't be sleeping. I turned in the book. I'm done. I'm free. Totally free, and...you know what? Okay, yes, yes, you're right. I do need some sleep. Zzzzzz."

One hundred hours later: I wake up, I notice the sun for the first time in weeks, I wash the food crumbs out of my hair, I walk outside and realize that there is a world out there waiting for me. I love life.

Many months later: Me: "Yes, this is my book. It's my favorite. I put my heart and soul into it and I love it. I hope you will, too. What about the revisions? No, no big deal. Piece of cake. I barely even remember them."

And so it goes...


Mary Preston said...

I love the washing of the food crumbs out of your hair. You must know we appreciate it all.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Mary, thank you. Finishing revisions (or a book when I reach those last few chapters and everything speeds up) is a lot like walking out of a dark theater into the sunlight. Sometimes I'm shocked that the world has gone on while I've been in the "revision zone."