While on a procrastination bender this morning, I came across this joke over at @Bookavore‘s blog.  (If you’re not familiar with her or Word, the bookstore she manages in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you should be.)

Here is the joke:

Q: “How many authors does it take to change a lightbulb?”

A: “But why do I have to CHAAAAANGE it?”

Just plain funny, and funny ’cause it’s TRUE.  I’ve been home less than forty-eight hours and am already eyeball-popping sick of WISH 2 revisions, and even though I adore my editor(s), and know they are brilliant and usually (always) right, I repeat:

Whyyyyyy do I have to chaaaaaaange it?

I won’t lie.  There are some parts of revising that I actually enjoy.  I LOVE line edits.  So far, I have not found myself to be one of those writers who becomes emotionally attached to specific words, and so, when part of a line is cut, or rearranged, I find it weirdly satisfying to cut and paste, tighten paragraphs, move things around, etc.  It feels kind of like arts and crafts.

Also, it’s easy.

What is decidedly NOT easy is the kind of rewriting that involves the re-jiggering of entire chapters, or multiple chapters, without disrupting the flow of a particular section, or beefing up characters by infusing traits and making sure everybody, and everything, still makes sense.  This is less like arts and crafts and more like surgery. I have been known to hold my breath while revising this way, or contort my face into expressions that elicit concern from others in the room.  If it looks like it hurts, it’s because it does.  A lot.

I have always been this way.  I can remember grad school workshops where I would repeatedly try to convince a professor that instead of the gigantor rewrites she (and the rest of the class) had suggested, didn’t she think I should just start over?  How about this other idea I’ve been working on secretly?  I could bust out a first draft of this one in a week! I should probably just do that and scrap this old problem-child one completely, yes?

The answer, always, was no.  I guess that’s the point of school, to make you do the things you’re too lazy to do on your own. And now, I’m learning, it’s the point of good editors, and I’m lucky to have them. If it were up to me, I’d probably have written seventeen first drafts of things that would never see the light of day.

First drafts are fun.  But so are finished books.  And so, back under the knife we go…Wish us luck!

(You guys are going to let me know when the Wish-pun well runs dry, aren’t you?  Because I can go on like this forever…)

Advertisements