Saturday, August 29, 2009

THE SIX STAGES OF REVISION HELL...

1) Have your first WTF moment when you open your editorial letter and see that your editor (even though she starts the letter by saying that it’s “a good first draft”) basically hates your manuscript.

She has marked (for deletion) perfectly good jokes, she thinks your characters might be unlikable, you clearly don’t know the difference between “lay” and “lie”, and what does she mean you can’t kill puppies and babies???

Realize that, not only does she hate your manuscript, she hates you too.

2) Take a step back. Have a glass of wine (this step may also be substituted by any of the following: Xanax, one pound bag of M&Ms, an entire bottle of wine, a shot (or three) of tequila, a carton of ice cream, or a nap).

Let her words sink in. Remind yourself that you’re not, in fact, an idiot with no grasp of the human language, that people really do think you’re frickin’ hilarious, and that maybe that baby/puppy deserved it.

3) After you’ve talked yourself down, consider that maybe, possibly, just perhaps there’s a reason your editor gets paid the big bucks (and by big bucks, I mean slave wages) to do her job. She has a knack for this sort of thing. Could it be that she’s right? Start to doodle (not in pen, of course, that would be ridiculous!) some notes, potential outlines of what *her* version might look like if the woodsman doesn’t rescue Little Red, if Big Bad turns out to be the real hero of the story. Save the baby, and maybe just *kick* the puppy. Move this to there, and that to…waaaaiit! What’s this? Is this even possible…??? I think it is!

She’s actually right!!!

4) Stop effing around and get to work, this time in permanent marker. This is not a drill, you’re on a deadline after all. Start shredding that manuscript that you once loved like your own child. Show no mercy. Gut it. Eviscerate. Break it down and build it back up.

(During this stage you may need to assign a responsible individual to make sure that your children/pets are fed, you shower on a regular basis, bills are paid, and that you lay/lie down on occasion).

5) After several weeks of living on unsuitable junkfoods and caffeine, you’ve done it. Go ahead, congratulate yourself, you’ve earned it. Write a sappy email to your editor thanking her for helping turn your book into a…*sniff*…go ahead and say it…A MASTERPIECE. Hover over the Send button, relishing the moment, and then proudly jettison your masterpiece off to cyberspace (aka. New York City).

6) Now, sit back and wait anxiously for your editor to read your newly improved work, hoping she’ll like all the changes you’ve made as you begin to fill your tormented writer’s mind with thoughts of: “What if she hates it?”…“Did I interpret her notes right?”…“Should I have really saved the baby?”

No wonder she hates you…

25 comments:

Sarahbear9789 said...

lol, I love it.

Lindsey Leavitt said...

It's true. You're frickin hilarious

Christy Raedeke said...

I'm going to print this out and tape it to my monitor. HI-larious! And so, so true.

Katie said...

Oh my gosh! This is hilarious and so true and I can relate (even though I've never been there).

I'm gonna pass this on.

Shelli said...

*sigh - Im there right now.

Lisa and Laura said...

This is perfection! You need to make sure Becca sees this. She's in revision hell right now.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Aaaaah this is so funny....I can only wait for the day that I'm in real revision hell!!! You'll be great though!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Well, I don't know about the book, but the post was frickin' hilarious!

Kimberly Derting said...

Sarah - Glad you liked it ;)

Lindsey - See? I knew I was funny!

Christy - *waves hand in from of face to keep from crying* Did I just graduate to "printed material"???

Katie - It also applied to agent and crit partner comments. Editors aren't the only ones who give you that WTF feeling.

Shelli - Just know you're not alone, sister!

LiLa - Becca saw it on my LJ account and was the *very first* person to comment! We're sharin' the pain right now.

Frankie - When you're there, just remember: wine/m&ms/naps can cure almost everything! ;)

Sherrie - This was my way of procrastinating this morning. *puts hands up like scales* Let's see...write a blog post *about* revisions OR actually *do* revisions. Obviously, the blog post won!

Donna Gambale said...

Nice! Although I may have to trade the 1 pound bag of M&Ms for a 1 pound bag of Reese's Pieces.

My favorite part?
"(During this stage you may need to assign a responsible individual to make sure that your children/pets are fed, you shower on a regular basis, bills are paid, and that you lay/lie down on occasion)."

And I have to look up lay v lie EVERY TIME.

PJ Hoover said...

Does this mean you're done?

You are hilarious, Kimberly!

Kimberly Derting said...

Donna - Mmmm...Reese's Pieces! Although, I personally think almost any 1# bag of candy will do. Also cookie dough or a pan brownies.

PJ - I wish! I had to dredge those last stages from my Book One experience. Sadly, Book Two is still in Stage 4.

Hardygirl said...

This is great!

sf

Leigh said...

Yup. You nailed it.

I say have the puppy kill the baby.

Tam said...

K, do not EVER doubt for a moment that your are hilarious! Even if you kill soft, cuddly things on occasion. Some people just don't have a sense of humor.

Little Ms J said...

I'm coming to learn that the entire process of writing and every little thing it entails creates manic disorders. One moment I think I suck and the next I'm having delusions of grandeur. Are we those crazy writer people from the old movies that were tortured by words?!

If so, I need a good hat, a secret lover and a long cigarette.

Heidi Willis said...

While this is such a funny post (as are all of yours!), it scares me a bit because my first editorial notes are coming this week.

And the pre-notes email that basically said "I love this book" made me turn to my husband and say, "Is she saying she hates it??"

Sigh.

Do all writers have manic-depressive disorder?

Jessica Secret said...

LOL! You're hilarious.

jessjordan said...

This is perfection. And sadly, I can't wait to get to this really awesome non-awesome place :)

Kimberly Derting said...

Heidi - Yes, all writers are crazy. Fact!

LMJ - You'd better get the hat!

Kimberly Derting said...

Leigh - Haha, of course...because it would be ridiculous to have the baby kill the puppy, right?

Lisa Schroeder said...

Yep. That pretty much nails it. However, I don't suggest doing Xanax AND a bottle of wine together at the same time.

Not, uh, that'd I know or anything.

Patti said...

Something to look forward to . I think I'll go for the extra large bag of peanut M&M's.

lisaalbert said...

I'm printing this and taping to my revision binder.

3 shots, clink!

Georgina Quinn said...

This is great. Funny and true.(: thankyou!