Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Revision Grief - A 5-Step Process

Ok, we've all been there. You get a particularly tough critique from your beta reader, agent or editor and you just sort of want to crawl into the corner, maneuver yourself into fetal position and cry. Wait, you don't do that? Oh...er...nevermind.

I think all writers have the tendency to grieve the loss of the perfect manuscript. Accepting that there are flaws and that it needs work is a process. A 5-step process. Oh yes, I think you know where this is going...

The 5-Stages of Grief - writer style

Stage 1: Denial
Whatever [insert agent/beta/editor name here]! You jackass! I can't believe you think our book is not perfect, because it totally is. I mean, all those adverbs = genius. Genius I tell you! And I can't wait until our book is on the best seller list and I can send you an e-mail telling you to suck it.

Stage 2: Anger
Why didn't we do another round of revisions before sending this out? WHY???? This is all Laura's fault. I hate the stupid publishing industry. Who needs books anyways? Books are so lame.

Stage 3: Bargaining
I'll totally swear off Gossip Girl forever if you just publish our book. Ok? Ok? Publishing Gods are you even listening to me?

Stage 4: Depression
Who needs to get dressed in the morning? Not me. Just fine in these PJs, thankyouverymuch. *hiccup* *hiccup* What? Don't give me that look. So I've had a little wine? Didn't anyone tell you 10 AM is the new Happy Hour? *sobs* My writing sucks. My life sucks. I suck.

Stage 5: Acceptance
Ok, I sort of see what [agent/editor/beta reader] was getting at. In fact, I think I might even know how to fix it. Omigosh, this is totally going to make the book about a million times better. I can do this!

So, next time you find yourself working through revisions, remember - it's a process. Let yourself work through it. And don't knock the whole sobbing in the fetal position in a corner thing. It works. Seriously.

18 comments:

Litgirl01 said...

I am ALL for whatever makes the book better. Funny that you applied the 5 steps for dealing with grief to dealing with a manuscript. It really fits!! LOL

sraasch said...

Hahaha...oh my. Definitely been through that process a few times...

Sara Tribble said...

LOL! Love this! I know the feeling, in fact I had some wine last night--only it was happy wine for my 8K revision of madness!

I know everything about writing is a process, especially when trying to get published! But you two are doing great and have an agent! An agent! My golly lets bust some wine to drink to that!

Don't worry, revisions are meant to strain you, maybe even kill us, but when the product is finished...damn its beautiful!

slhastings said...

I'm laughing too hard to post anything of substance. You had me at the pj's and wine.

Corey Schwartz said...

You two are hilarious. How did it take me so long to find your blog?

Sarah said...

I'm with Corey. I only just found your blog. Oh, what I've been missing!
Hehehe. Good luck with the revisions:)

christinefonseca said...

Hehe...the psychologist in me absolutely LOVES this post (as does the writer). Nicely done guys. (and yes, I am so guilty of so many of these things!)

Danyelle said...

*grin*

Strangely, cutting stuff that doesn't work isn't that painful. It is a lot of work getting the story from point A to point double Z though. >.< That's my grief process--all that extra work.

Lisa and Laura said...

Litgirl - It's a little scary how well they fit, right?

Sara - Haven't we all...

Sara T. - Congrats on your 8k revision! Definitely a wine-worthy accomplishment!

Sam - There have definitely been moments where I've been tempted to pour just a tiny glass of wine before noon. So far I've resisted, but with the stress of being on sub, all bets are off!

Corey - Welcome! We love new readers. Especially when they think we're hilarious.

Sarah - Whoo hoo! Another new reader! Today is a fab day. I think this means we have 3 Sara(h)s reading the blog. Love it. Oh, and for the record, we aren't doing any revising right now, just a lot of waiting and outlining. This post came to me when we did a major revision for our agent. I've been saving it...

Christine - Yikes - a psychologist!? I would have been much more careful with this post if I knew a professional would be reading it...

Danyelle - The overwhelming feeling when you get a really tough crit is what gets us every time. Sometimes it feels like there's so much to do that you don't know where to start.

Cindy said...

I'm still stuck at the adverbs are totally genius part :) I think I've said at least three times this week on other blogs that I just can't give those adverbs up. That was a hilarious post. Truthfully there is a process you go through after a critique. I'm learning as I go but some of those steps just can't be helped.

Weronika said...

Thank you! :) This made my day.

Cheers!

Little Ms J said...

Get out of my head! You are hilarious! My husband hates it when I get a bad critique or advice that will stretch me out of my comfort zone. It requires him to buy me chocolate and wine on the way home. Then I sigh, throw my arm over my forehead and ask, "Does this book make me look fat?" at least three times, beg for him to tell me how wonderful I am, how stupid everyone else is and how they're crushing my creativity. After about a week of chewing on the inside of my cheek and take out Italian I start on the revisions. And then I'm spectacular.

Lisa and Laura said...

Cindy - Believe in the process! It's so hard to have work critiqued. No matter how hard we try, we'll always take it personally. As long as it eventually makes our work stronger that's all that matters, right? Right.

Weronika - Making your day just made my day. Ahh...it's the little things.

LMJ - You have to write a book called "Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?" It wouldn't even matter what it's about, I would totally buy it.

PurpleClover said...

Okay why did my blogger tell me you just posted this 37 minutes ago and you clearly posted it earlier?? I'm seriously getting irritated with blogger.

By the way...I totally agree with your stages. lol. I'm so there with simple critiquing...hehe.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my goodness ... awesome post!!! Hilarious ... and true!! :-)

Shelli said...

hey are you a fly on my wall? accept it was vodka not wine!

Solvang Sherrie said...

LOL...I can relate to this :^)

Jeannie Lin said...

I was so thirsty for non-form responses that the first time an agent tore my book apart and told me all the things that were wrong with it, I was thrilled!

But I still go through the five stages and lick my wounds regardless. Maybe being thrilled was part of denying my grief. :)