Blog #16 by novelist Jeremy Logan — Trashing a Portion of Your Storyline and Other Revisions

Blog #16 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- Trashing a Portion of Your Storyline and Other Revisions

For the umpteenth time I was watching an interview of a novelist or great actor when I heard the same answer to the most common question.  Have you seen your new movie or conducted readings of your new novel?  The answer is usually: No!

Until I started writing novels I couldn't figure out why that was the most common reply. Now I get it, and do I get it.  The reason they don't is because every time they see themselves on the screen or read their work, all they see are deficiencies.  It's self-torture. As we get more experience at our craft we get better.  Looking at a previous work always shows ourselves in a less refined, less professional and immature state. We can even be ashamed of our prior products.  And that's we can't watch or re-read our work.

After putting away my second novel for a while and then picking it back up, it became obvious to me that there were several deficiencies.  First, the title had to go.  What was I thinking?  The next big thing was the ending.  It was too obvious.  There was no real surprise or doubt.  Last night I finished rewriting the ending for the second time.  Is it better?  It's way better, but is it super?  I won't know until put it away for a while and pick it back up again.  It takes a brain with a clean slate to make that kind of judgment.

My first novel went through about twenty rewrites.  And to this day I'm afraid to reread it. If I ever get picked up by a major publisher with a skilled editor I will certainly take that opportunity to correct the flaws and re-publish it, but until then, I can't bear to reread it.

My second novel has now gone through two complete revisions. Tomorrow I will start the third reread and self-editing. I just hope it's not so bad that I get discouraged.  I'm sticking to my March 31st publishing date for now, but it's going to be a struggle to get it to the point that I'm satisfied it's ready.


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