Thursday, February 14, 2008

Revisions! A Story in Pictures.

I'm baaaaack! (Did you miss me?:)) I had a lovely time at my mothers. Some good visiting, more than too much good food, and lots of babysitting by my mom. Life of leisure, right? Ummm, not exactly. I went to bed absolutely exhausted every night. Why? Because I spent 5-6 hours working on my edits every day.

It reminded me of doing renovations on my house before we moved in. And the more I thought about it, the more apt the comparison became. So here is the analogy of revisions/renovations.:)

When we went house shopping two years ago we had a rather small budget, but we were determined to get the best house we could. We looked at a couple and were rather disappointed. They were very small and clearly cheaply made. They were all in good repair, but I had trouble thinking of us living there for the next three years. Then we pulled up to a house that--although the colors of paint were kind of ugly--was larger and on a bigger sized piece of land. So far so good. We walked into the living room and almost gasped in appreciation! A large, finished room with paneling on the walls and a fireplace to boot! So what if they has decorated in terrible, terrible faux zebra stripes and cheetah spots. They would take those things with them. Wow! Why was this house in our price range?

We soon found out. For starters, there were cars and motorhomes (yes, that's a plural)in the yard as well as some other junk. Then the paint in the kitchen was this terrible orangish red, the laundry room wasn't painted at all, there was a room in the middle that was totally unfinished, and the old Coke machine on the porch didn't help much.

But you know what I saw? I saw potential! I wasn't afraid of a little work, and by buying a house at this price, we could spend a bit on revisions.

So we bought it (although I think our realtor thought we were nuts.) and soon the renovations commenced.

One of the worst rooms in the house was the bathroom. See exhibit A.:)

See that door . . . It doesn't even go anywhere! Now, the people who lived there didn't think there was anything wrong with it. They lived with it like that for five years. I wasn't quite so easily pleased.

So revisions began.

Who'd have thought that taking down that awful mirror would make it look even worse!

But we kept trucking along.

We pulled out the sink. That was an improvement right there.:)

Luckily, we were working with a professional. Our friend Kevin is a master electrician. He helped us with all the wiring.

But an interesting thing happened. In order to get all the the wiring done correctly, we actually had to go back and undo some of the work we'd already done in order to get everything in the right place. (See how the door that was boarded up is not boarded up in this picture?)

Luckily, Kevin knew what he was doing and soon our wall looked like this.

We added a new vanity and mirror as well as some pretty light and viola! We had a perfectly functional, and much prettier bathroom!

This is a lot like revisions. We think our book is just fine the way it is. (Although I trust all of your books are at a much better starting place than our bathroom was!) It gets submitted to an editor and--just like I saw in our house--one of them (hopefully more!:)) sees potential in it. They know it needs work, but they see what it can become.

The first thing they do is pull out all the bad stuff. Then they bring in their professional skills and do the things that you can't on your own (or, in this case, fix the issues you can't see in your "baby.") Sometimes that may mean undoing fixes a good crit partner or even you agent suggested!

But when they are done, you are left with something better than what you started with. In subsequent revisions they help you add those finishing touches that really make your book a beautiful thing. And hopefully, when you are done, you have something like this.:)



cyn said...

love this post.
love this analogy.
thank you for sharing! =D

tomdg said...

Welcome back :) I hope Mr. Apparently was well and pleased to see you.

I like your piece on revision. A few years ago a colleague and I wrote a couple of reports for a government department. We'd submit them to our boss, he'd pass them back with revisions. My collegue complained to me when his revised document came back with yet more requests for revisions, some of which contradicted the earlier changes. I'd had the same experience of course, but thought nothing of it: my dad's a writer, and I'd been lucky enough to have watched him work, so for me it was second nature.

I'm now trying to decide whether revision is just for professionals like yourself or whether I should have a go at revising my own (very) amateurish creation ...

Mary said...

Great analogy! Makes me feel happy and optimistic.

Genny said...

Great analogy! I enjoyed this post :o)

Helen said...

Your analogy makes a lot of sense, definitely.

...I'm sorry, I'm still laughing at the thought of the door that goes nowhere. Hee.

Heidi the Hick said...

First of all, I love yellow!

Second, this is a perfect analogy. We went through a huge renovation three years ago- half our house got done over, and it was, um, extremely unpleasant. To put it mildly. It was worth it though.

Editing my book for the ninth time is unpleasant too. The worst part is knowing that whoever takes it on will likely want more changes!

I'm a potential person too, though. I'm so much like you that way. I'm looking at real estate ads for farms and you know which ones appeal to me the most? THe ones with old trucks sitting and rusting, and stacks of tires, and a faded old farmhouse...with a nasty bathroom hidden inside, no doubt!!!

Brute for punishment? Hopeless optimist? Hey, at least I have vision....

Great post! Thanks for your positive attitude!

Demon Hunter said...

Your bathroom looks completely different. Good job! Great analogy! :*)

maggie said...

is that on the first floor of your home?

Aprilynne said...

Indeed, Maggie, the first and only floor of my home . . . .why?

maggie said...

I was just wondering. I am a grad student in a preservation program. I am doing a paper on converting back a back from apartments to a single family home. So I was just wondering why there was a door there? Was your home split into apartments? If so, might I use your photos in my paper?

Aprilynne said...

I'm afraid not. Actually it was originally a teeny tiny house that was added on to twice, resulting in the most interesting puzzle-like floorplan. I have a room in the middle of the house that used to be the kitchen that is now like a room-sized hallway. It has no windows, but hold the doors to the master bedroom, the office, the front room and the bathroom.

At the moment it's also our bedroom. (loooong story.)

I think that door in the bathroom used to actually be the back door. Now it just leads to a wall that is the back of the closet in the office.:)