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.:)