December 3, 2009

Aaack! Revision – A Guest Post by Pembroke Sinclair

Today, our Cool Person guest blogger is Pembroke Sinclair. Pembroke loves to write about the human condition even though he does not particularly like to be around them, and his kickass protagonists inhabit dark scifi and fantasy stories, as well as westerns. He has an unhealthy obsession with the paranormal, sweeping political specfic, and serial killers. His story “Sohei” was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by the Cynic Online Magazine. You can read his work at the Cynic Online and NVF Magazine or pick up a copy of Sonar 4. You can also read his blog or order a collection of his short fiction After the Apocalypse or his novel Coming from Nowhere on Amazon, which I encourage you to do immediately.

First and foremost, thank you to Tamara for having me as a guest blogger. I appreciate the gesture, and hope you find me as entertaining as she is!

Tamara had mentioned in a post a few days ago that she was revising a story, taking her time to add all of the details that she hadn’t thought of during her initial writing and fleshing the story out. While revision is a VERY important part of writing, it is also the most tedious. When I think about the revision process, my hands start to sweat and panic grips my chest. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!

For some authors, the revision process is a sign of accomplishment. After all, the hard part is done; the story is on the page, it just needs tightening up. For me, the start of the revision process is the beginning of a never-ending series of rewrites. Believe me, I’m not so jaded as to believe that my first draft is perfect, it’s not. In fact, it’s usually far from it, and I know I need to revise. The reason I hate to process so much is because it never ends; there is always something that can be fixed or needs clarification. How do you know when you’re done? Eventually, you just have to get to a point where you say, No more. This is as good as it’s going to get. But is it? Especially as the author, when is it ever good enough?

I’m sure I’m not unique in this situation. I’m sure there are tons of writers out there whose work never sees the light of day because they never think it’s good enough. Even when you get to the point where you decide you’re done revising and you get a piece published, how many times have you reread it and found a mistake? I hate that. It embarrasses me more than anything. That’s why I’ve stopped reading my stuff after it’s published. Unfortunately, I can’t stop revising. No matter how much I wish for it, my work doesn’t revise itself. I guess I will constantly be trapped in a love/hate relationship with writing and revising. Oh, well, I guess that’s as good as it’s going to get.

Thanks so much, Pembroke!

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