More On Revising And Editing

This piece, by David B. Coe, originally appeared on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Novelists site on 4/23/09. 

 I’m in the midst of rewrites.  I received a revision letter from my editor the other day and have been wading through his comments, trying to bring fresh thinking to a novel that I finished six months ago, the last book in a series that I was glad to finish. 

Don’t get me wrong; I like the series very much, and I think that the three books taken together represent my best work to date.  But this trilogy followed a five book series set in the same world, and I.  Am.  Ready.  To.  Move.  On.  

And in fact I have moved on.  I’ve completed the first book in a new project that I love.  My mind is there, in that new world.  My head is filled with the stories of a whole new cast of characters.  Wrenching myself out of that world and back into this one is no small feat.

I find myself wishing that just this once my editor had said in his revision letter, “David, this is perfect.  Don’t change a word.”

Okay, I’m back now.  For a while there I was laughing too hard to type….  

I’ve described the revision process in a more methodical way elsewhere and I won’t bother going over it again here.  But I will say that, for me, it may be the most emotionally draining part of writing a novel and preparing it for publication.  I don’t mean this as a complaint.  Truly I don’t.  But going through my own 140,000 word manuscript reading comment after comment about all the things I did wrong isn’t easy.  

This manuscript is actually pretty clean; few problems over all.  Still, there must be 300 comments in there, ranging from subtle changes in wording, to corrections of silly mistakes, to more substantial comments relating to character and plotting.  And though I love my editor, and though I’ve been through this many times before and have developed a fairly thick skin, I have to admit that some of my editor’s remarks raise my hackles.

Read the rest of the article on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Novelists site.