Saturday, September 26, 2009

Revision Brain Freeze

Jorge de Castro--1934--Candido Portinari,December 29, 1903 - February 6, 1962 It’s that time again! Yes, revision season has hit my little writing world yet again. Wait, you say, you just finished doing revisions. Yes, but those were my revisions. Now I’m working on my Berkley Prime Crime editor’s revisions for my Memphis Barbeque book.

And there’s a little phenomenon I’ve noticed during the several books I’ve worked on an editor with. I’ll share it with you:

I open the email attachment. I must be alone for this process. The reason is that…

I start cussing. Loudly. %##!!!! What was I thinking!? I did this, too? *&^!!! Look—I did it again, here! ()^%$. (Yes, Generation Xers are fluent in the lost art of the expletive.)

I question myself. What was I doing when I read this section over? Was I revising, then I had to kiss someone’s boo-boo, then I just accidentally skipped this part? Did the oven timer go off at an inopportune moment? Did I suffer a mild stroke?

The requested global revisions give me brain freeze. What? I need to add what? I need to fix what recurring reference ? Uhhhhhh…..

Panic sets in. I run off some excess energy by scrubbing various parts of my house for twenty minutes.

Then the tide turns….

Relief. Oh wait. Most of these revisions are dialogue tags (added, since I so dislike them that I try not to use them.) Or they’re minor word substitutions. Or they’re formatting issues.

Common sense. The global revisions? They completely make sense. And…I have a great idea how to work them in!

I get some paper.

Planning. If I do this, then the text will be really smooth. Let me look through the manuscript and see where I can work this idea in. Oh look--the perfect place to fit it in!

Communication. I email my editor back (and she’s really not expecting to hear from me until Tuesday.) Hey, I got this idea about this problem! What do you think about this….?

I turn into a six-year old again. Okay, this is my idea: we could pretend that this happens. Then this happens. Or, if you’d like, we could pretend that this happens, instead! What do you want to pretend?

I start to work right away.

Rinse and repeat. :)