Monday, June 20, 2011

Putting in the Work

So, a few weeks ago, I was getting a story ready to submit. I told my editor that she'd have it as soon as I'd finished with revisions. At that moment, it was out with my wonderful betas for a read-through so I could fix any glaring issues before I sent it in. She said (paraphrased), "You don't revise until after I edit it."

Then, at a totally separate time, I was talking to a fellow author (who shall remain unnamed) about one of her shorter works. She basically said that she didn't put as much time into it since it was just supposed to be a quickie--a break from her novels.

Needless to say, I was...confused.

You see, I have a process I go through before I send anything in for publication. I write. I revise. Maybe twice. For longer pieces, I might post part in my online writing group and wait for critiques (to revise again). I send to my betas. I wait for their comments. I revise. Then, if the revisions were big, I send it back to them to make sure it's solid. If not, I revise again. Then...sometime after that, I send it in.

I do this for my novel-length stories. I do this for my novellas. I do this for my short stories. Hell, if I'm worried about it, I do something similar for my flash fiction before I post it on the blog. I cannot imagine sending my rough drafts to my editors. Even thinking about it has me breaking out in a cold sweat right now. You see, as much as I love my editors and think they're awesome, I want as many eyes as I can reasonably get on my manuscript before it goes out. And I feel that way about all my stories; I don't differentiate by length (though, I will say that just because they are longer and therefore have more room for "issues", novel-length stories tend to go through more revisions than shorts).

Based on similar comments from both an editor and another author, however, I'm starting to think I might be in the minority with regard to these habits. I know in digital publishing, output is important. If you can't churn out stories fast enough, you can be forgotten as new authors pop up. But the idea of putting anything out there that is less than the best I can make it bothers me...a lot. This isn't to say that other people don't write crazy-good first drafts with no inconsistencies or weak spots or grammar issues because I'm sure some people do, but I'm not at the point yet where I can delude myself into thinking I'm one of them.

So, if you've been waiting on Badlands 2 or the next Blood Kissed story, consider this my apology for the delay. I want to get those stories to you. I just don't want to cut corners to do it, and for me it would be cutting corners (believe me, my betas are phenomenal and not at all afraid to tell me when I suck). Please forgive the delay, and hopefully I can work on that whole prolific thing in the meantime.

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