Monday, November 7, 2022

X is for Crossing it Out and Re-Writing it

 I love brainstorming ideas, coming up with new characters and worlds to put them in, and putting  dialogue on the page. I love watching the story unfold (yes, sometimes it's a surprise to me) -- a story often dictated by these same characters. 

I love the beginning and middle of the writing process -- the part where creativity allows me to believe anything is possible. 

But I hate the part that comes next.

I hate revising. 

Some parts of stories flow from my brain to my fingertips, littering the page (or, more accurately, the screen) with description and dialogue, fun facts and astute advice. Other parts play hide and seek, refusing to emerge into my consciousness let alone onto the page, screen, or any other medium. The first circumstance is admittedly more fun than the second one. And, while both play a role in the writing process, the latter plays a starring role in the revision process, making that dreaded process more akin to tragedy than comedy.

I much prefer comedy.

By the time I get to the revision process, I've already done the fun part. I've created something out of nothing. In other words, I ALREADY WROTE THIS STORY! WHY DO I HAVE TO WRITE IT AGAIN?

Oh, there are so many reasons. To make it better. To make it tighter. To keep the reader turning the page. To take the characters and their story, the dialogue and the drama, to a deeper level. Because the story that I've written may be lovely in some places, but hideous in others, the goal of the revision process is to create a landscape where the story may be tragic in places, but the writing is not.

Crossing out things that aren't working isn't too terrible. It's agonizing about what should be on the page instead that's the hard part. One of the goals of revision is to unify words and story so seamlessly that the former never gets in the way of the latter.

But no pressure.

I hear there are some writers who love revising. I even know a few, and I love them in spite of this glaring, egregious personality flaw.

But, as for me, X marks the spot where the fun ends and the work begins.

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