I discovered late yesterday I would have to post a blog on the One Million Project website. I’m not usually so scatter-brained about deadlines, but I have a deadline of my own at the moment. I’m in the Revision stage of my latest book; so needless to say, I’m going insane a little more each day.
I think it’s appropriate to give you, the reader, a bit of history about the revision process and moi. With my first full-length book, I approached the revision and editing process without a plan or a clue, if I’m being frank. Yeah, I read different articles about various steps other writers had used during the final revisions and edits. I chose to go my own way, and I was so very wrong. I had several beta readers helping me by pointing out punctuation and spelling errors, sentence structure, point-of-view issues, and other helpful suggestions. I appreciated their help so very much. They were not the issue.
I ran the book through the Grammarly program, and I even purchased the updated version of the application. It gave me several suggestions and caught some items I’d overlooked. It proved to be a wise decision, in light of my special talent for creating sentences akin to a freshly made pot of alphabet soup.
Last but not the least of my revisionist plans, I sat down and read my book out loud to get a feel for the sentence flow and spot any errors which had remained hidden from the multiple orbs perusing the pages. This was sound advice I’d read on someone’s blog, and it is effective for someone without a mix of youthful daydreaming and the memory problems of advancing age. I would have such good intentions, and before I realized it, I was vacuuming the rug, messing around with widgets on my website or shopping online.
Authors will tell you they are often their own worst critics. It’s true. Once I start reading what I’ve written, I will dutifully begin revising sentences. Not one or two, but every single one will be cut, put back together and ripped apart again. After a few glasses of wine mingled with my wretched tears, I begin to start calling friends to inform them that my writing is “pure ___.” Fill in whatever word seems fitting.
I keep re-reading the same chapters and the changes continue. After two weeks, I find I’m still on the first paragraph of my book (a slight exaggeration for dramatic purposes). I have chapters which include the same character’s name twelve-hundred times in a fifteen-hundred-word count chapter. Another of my special talents, it seems.
So, here I am a year later in the throes of revising/editing my second book. Please wish me well. This could well be my last blog post, because I need to re-write every sentence about forty times.
If you’ve read this far, I hope you understand much of what I’ve written is satire, but with satire comes a basic truth about my own foibles and shortcomings. Every book will have some errors, and I’ve yet to read one without something my third-grade teacher would have marked with a red checkmark. The moral of my tale is simply to avoid losing the creative essence of the story as you look for the imperfections.
My job is done. I must get back to my revisions before the men in white suits bring my straight jacket.
OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.
Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. Her full-length book EXODUS is also available on Amazon.