Saturday, July 17, 2010

Revision Hell?

After holding my breath waiting for edits to come on "Of Course I Try", they came Friday afternoon just a few hours before we were due to leave for vacation. Needless to say, I opened the file with my nerves strung more than a little tight. My kids were going nutty, and since it was a short, I really wanted to get the revisions done before we left.

I had three hours.


But I opened the file and dove in. Here's what I learned from this first foray into working with an editor on revisions (keep in mind, this was a short story and I wasn't asked to make any story changes):

-       Do the easy stuff first. If they changed your punctuation or mention that it's (no I didn't do this, it's just an example) bated breath, not baited breath, those are easy things to accept or reject. Getting these things off the edge will dramatically decrease the amount of work staring you in the face.

-       Word repetition. In this particular story, there were a few of them done for effect, and I thought my uber-betas had caught the rest, but my editor, Kate, found a bunch more. She said I could leave them if I really wanted them, but I think I only left one. The rest were easy enough to tweak, and that slashed a bunch more work.

-       By this point, I was left with the bigger things. (Which in this case weren't huge. I mean it's only a short story.) Those got tackled one at a time.

-       Then I went back and gave it another read-through and filled in a couple places where I'd felt something was missing.

Done. That was it. Patient and methodical got me through the revisions in time to answer Kate's question about one thing I'd left that confused her and still leave on time for vacation.

I'm not delusional, really. I know that revisions won't always be this easy, but all things considered it wasn't a bad experience at all, even with the crazy time frame. In fact, even knowing the next one is a longer piece that will probably need more intensive work, I'm looking forward to my next editorial experience.

So, revision hell? Not so much.

Either that or it just brings out my demonic side and makes me feel right at home.

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