Things About Revising That Don't Suck

8:00 AM


(Hey, so Pariah rewrites have been sucking away both my soul and my time lately, and I continue to let blogging slip down the drain, but now I'm actually being responsible and writing up posts ahead of time so I should be on top of things now. You're welcome.) 



So way back forever ago, I used Megamind gifs to describe my revision process. It's still absolutely accurate, but now that I've found myself once more in the terrible grips of revisions and rewrites, I'm in need of a little less poking fun at my pain and a little more reminding myself of what's good about this.

Because this is honestly how I feel right now.

So, this is a message to my brain. And to you, too, should you need it. 

Things About Revising That Don't Suck: 

Fixing ALLLLLL the things. 

Maybe it's just me, but there's nothing more satisfying than taking all those really awful mistakes you made back in draft 1/2/3/4/ect. and fixing them up. What else could make you feel better about yourself? 

Admit it, you just started singing it. 

Learning more about the characters. 

Characters are the best part of writing for me. It's like having an excuse to have lots of imaginary friends and talk to them all the time. It's also an excuse to be insane, which is always welcomed. I learn a lot about my characters during the first draft, yes, but revision is where all the nitty-gritty happens. Just like in real life, the more time you spend with your characters the better you get to know them in the end, and the more dark stuff comes out as time goes along. Trust me. I've been through four whole drafts with the Pariah characters, and I know them inside and out because we've spent so much unpleasant time together. 

Also just like real-life friends, you'll get sick of them eventually. That's inevitable. But since I'm sticking to the positives (this is hard) you'll always find a reason to fall in love with them all over again if you just keep going. 

Figuring out new plot twists. 

There's nothing quite like sitting there plotting when BAM, some fresh new idea for your lovely story hits you. 


I think that sums it up nicely. Flailing included. 

Which brings me to... 

Flailing about it with other people. 

Maybe it's just me, but I love telling people about my story. And during revisions, I can rant, ramble, and be excited over this developing new thing all I want, preferably with other writerly people who understand the excitement here. It's also amazing to have a support group cheering you on. Just saying. 


Watching it get better with every draft. 

Okay, so the in-between middle-of-the-stupid-draft bits are often horrific, but there are times when you sit back, compare, and realize just how nice this new draft is compared to the last one. It's exciting and encouraging and glorious, and a good reminder of just how good it's going to be at the end. There is an end coming, too, I promise. 

Cool research. 

Confession: I hate research. It kills my creativity. I try to make excuses to get out of it. I absolutely hate the idea of it, and the time you have to spend on it. Please ignore the fact that I write steampunk/historical fiction for a moment. However, revisions mean making sure you're accurate, and obviously that requires a lot of research. While it's tiresome most of the time, occasionally you can run into some pretty amusing stuff. Like various ways to murder people, or stab wounds, or how to strangle someone, or...well, you get the point. 

It messes up your google search history, but it's so worth it. 

Because this is totally a thing. 

In short? 

Revision is hard. Revision sucks. But you can push through, and there are definitely some pros to it. 

What about you? What's your favorite part of writing/revising/editing? Do you enjoy revisions, or do you hate them? Are you dreading them, or stuck in the middle of them? Share your woes and comment away. 

32 comments

  1. Yes. This is important. Because everyone just says "finish the first draft and you can fix it during revising!" and so everyone else just leaves the difficult bits to revisions and moan about it. But the exploration of your story is amazing in revisions.

    I actually like planning revisions more than actually revising. Because argh, fixing things and thinking about fixing things are a world apart, but at the end it's worth it ... I think. I actually feel discouraged when I finish a round of revisions because (a) I'm sick of it and (b) it doesn't feel AWESOME. So I'm just waiting on betas right now (including you, lovely person, so yay) and hoping that it's not quite as bad as I'm worried and I can fix whatever is wrong without too much fuss.

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    1. Haha, yeah. I'm neck-deep in revisions right now, like I've said, and it's a world different from the easy fixing-up that I imagined. And I like to moan about it just as much as the next person, but I think it's also important to keep the positives in mind for when it gets to its most stressful.

      (And I'm super exited about beta-reading, by the way. I'm planning on starting this weekend so I'll actually have time to sit down with it.)

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  2. You have no idea how much I needed this. I'm actually in the process of revising my first novel and I hate it. So much. I mean, I've been wanting to fix some things and add some things, and I enjoy that. But editing. Ugh.

    If I really think about it, though, revising is actually rather fun. Painful sometimes - there's a lot of 'what the heck even is this' - but it is awesome to watch it all come together more. And the characters... I know who these characters are - gosh, I've been writing them for a long time now - but also, it's really cool to figure out where they aren't developed enough and fleshing them out more. Figuring out more about them. Just... basically everything you said here, the way you put it, has made me think about this more. Revising isn't aaallll that bad.

    Thank you for writing up this post. Seriously, I really needed this. ^_^

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    1. Ugh, I feel you -- I'm in the same boat, really. Fixing up is nice at times but also a total soul-sucker. There are lots of benefits and fun moments as well. :)

      Best of luck with revisions!

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    2. It really is. And it gives me a headache. It's definitely better than the first draft, but I'm kind of stressing over the tiniest things. Yay, being a writer~\!

      Thanks! I find M&Ms to be a good motivation for making myself edit. :P

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  3. Ohh. I loved that Megamind post. It was fantastic. xD
    And this post is fantastic too. *nods* (As all of your posts are.)
    "Flailing about it with other people." Did you mean to say taunt about it to other people because they can't read it yet?! -.- I'm kidding. Partially. I really do love hearing about your story as much as I do want to read it.
    Minion gifs! Adorable. xP
    *ends random comment*

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    1. Thank you!
      Mwhahaha. Taunting is fun, too. YOU WILL HAVE IT SOON I PROMISE.

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  4. Gaaaah you're making me feel guilty about skipping revising my one WIP in favor of writing an additional POV for my other WIP. Not too guilty though. I definitely agree that revisions stink. Maybe if I felt like I had to fiddle with it more to get those glorious plot twists you mentioned, or didn't feel like I alreay knew my characters really well even before draft 1 because of the twenty-page long character sheets I routinely end up with. This is the downside of planning everything in advance - you feel like there's nothing left to discover after draft 1.
    the post was encouraging, though, at least to know that other people have the same dislike for revisions that I do. I think the best point you mentioned is being able to share about your book and flailing with other writers. And making other writers flail. :D

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    1. Haha, I can't say I /understand/ that, since I'm a huge pantser myself, but plotting is definitely draining. *showers you with encouragement*

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    2. *sags and soaks in encouragement, because I need it*

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  5. Revising is really hard and I'm not particularly good at it, but this is right—there are some enjoyable perks about being part of the revisions process; I like the new plot twists best, and doing research. Research is fun!

    With circumstances at my house right now, I haven't honestly been able to do a lot of writing, but I'm okay with that for now. I'll get back to revisions once things calm down a little.

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    1. That was weird, I feel like I gave an unsolicited status of my life. Why did I do that? ANYWAY this was a lovely post, the GIFs made me smile, and I look forward to revising very soon!

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    2. I can't say I like the research part of it, but I'm not very good at revisions either. xD I'm pounding through fairly slowly and it's killing my brain. And here's hoping circumstances get a little better soon!

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  6. You are absolutely right. Revision is probably one of the worst parts, and one of the best parts of writing for me. Like everything you said in this post is some of the best parts...but the times when it feels hopeless aren't that great. I need to start revision on a book that I completed not too long ago..but if I don't get started on it soon, I probably will let it just sit, with me being the way I am ^-^

    All the GIF's in the post are PERFECT (Since when were they not?) and hilarious xD Specifically about the Google Search history...lol :) If people every saw it..they'd probably wonder if I was really okay in all the time that they knew me.

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    1. SAME. It's hard to remember the positives when you're bogged down in the middle of it, or even looking at that huge pile of paper, so I think it's an important reminder.

      And thanks! My own search history is...questionable. xD

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  7. This is an awesome list!

    I love making everything better! I have a hard time with first drafts because I can see all the things I'm doing wrong. When I get around to editing, I can finally get around to making it shine. :)

    Plot twists are cool too! And learning more about the characters is always the best. In the first draft sometimes I write dialogue wrong. This character is not going to use that wording, but I'm on a roll and I don't have time to think about it. So after the first draft is finished I can scrub up all those character inconsistencies. :)

    By the way I tagged you, for a tag...

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    1. Right? I get frustrated with first drafts, as much as I love them, and it's genuinely fun to make it all pretty again. ^_^

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  8. I really needed this reminder. lol. rewriting has been eating my soul lately. Im working on my first rewrite ever and so Ive been figuring out that I mostly hate it. lol. jk. its a pain and a joy all bundled up in one. I love the points you made. my favorite part is for sure seeing how much better the second draft is. haha. its so weird comparing drafts. and making changes is so satisfying.

    good luck with revision and such. its a pain but it is so worth it in the end. (I hope. lol.)

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    1. Good luck to you too! I feel the pain.

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  9. Revision intimidates me. I've got a NaNoWriMo novel that is currently screaming at me for slacking with it. I just don't know where to start. This post was encouraging. Now that you mention it, revision does have some pretty neat benefits. My favorite is when you suddenly get a GRAND idea for a plot twist that just changes everything and makes everything SO MUCH BETTER. Okay, so it has happened to me all of two times, but it is amazing when it happens!

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    1. Ughhhh I feel that. It's terrifying, and really hard to jump right in. *hands chocolate of encouragement*

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  10. You know, for the most part I actually enjoy revising. Of course it is extremely difficult. And slow. And frustrating. But it is so worth it. I agree that seeing your draft get better before your eyes is such an amazing feeling. Besides, to me there's something poetic about revising, something about the shaping and forming of your story that just makes me really excited to sit down and revise. Wonderful post, Aimee!

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    1. YES. I really, really love the satisfaction of it.

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  11. I always have a very hard time with revising. I spend all this time writing, and finally get a story FINISHED. And then I realize that I have hardly scratched the surface of what I need to do with said story.

    This, mixed with my procrastination, makes revision of any sort seem like a monster that is impossible to slay.

    However, once I get started I tend to enjoy getting to meet the characters once again, and the more polished I make the story, the more I appreciate it.

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    1. Exactlyyyyy. *agrees with all the things*

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  12. Wow, great post! I'm in the middle of rewriting my (first complete) novel, and was getting really burnt out with it. Until this! You've got me all excited to get back to work, thinking of all the things that don't suck. :) Thank you muchly.

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    1. YOU'VE GOT THIS. It's easy to get burned out, and we do need encouragement sometimes. I'm glad you liked it! :)

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  13. I'm actually procrastinating right now. I'm reading about the glories of editing instead of actually doing it. Yeah. XD

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  14. Good post. :) I actually don't mind revising too much. Sure it gets tedious sometimes, but like you said, I like watching my story get better and better and hopefully ... soon ...ish ... it will be totally done and no more revising. XD I'm on my fifth or six revision in one book.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.