Revision seems to be the theme of the week here at ARR–well, except for Jaleigh, who’s busy ghostbusting in New Orleans.
So what do I think about revisions? I do them when I need to. Then I either repeat, take a break, or release that thing into the wild, to live or die on its own. There you go.
Okay, breaking that down a bit. How do I know I need to revise? Well, any first draft I do is going to be a hot mess of varying degrees. So I go over it a couple of times, copy editing and cleaning up anything blatantly stupid. Then I get somebody else to read it. They might point out something I missed, but more often, they will point out the crap that I saw but pretended I didn’t see. Because fixing it would be hard. So then I decide what suggestions I’m going to listen to, based on a combination of oh, that will make it better and crap, I guess I can’t get away with that. Then I revise and read it again.
Is it done? Sometimes. If so, release. If I still like it, but still don’t think it’s ready to go, repeat the above. If I don’t think it’s ready, and I don’t like it anymore, it gets put away. Some other day I’ll haul it out again and see what I think of it.
That’s the big thing, really. That like factor. If I like it, I assume the story has something going for it. A character, a setting, something. And it has my interest, my passion, so I’m going to actually work on it, as opposed to going through the motions. In other words, if I like something I assume that it has potential, and that I’m willing to work to realize that potential.
If I don’t like it… It sits. Waits. Some later day, I may like it again, and that’s when I should be working on it. Or I might finally just gut its carcass and part it out, using whatever good bits I like for other works.
It’s not magic, but it works for me. Which, in my experience, is what most writing process advice breaks down to–
Here’s what I do, it kind of works, YMMV