“Two kinds of ice cream. Finding your skate key. Telling the time.” I sang this song in the second grade. So sweet! But happiness is also … four rounds of revisions. Sending out to beta’s, hoping it’s done. This is me. So close to getting this novel done.
Several months ago, I sent my book to my agent, she read the manuscript, and then offered her feedback by notes and observations. I was happy to get them. It took some time to analyze the comments and decipher how to apply them to the manuscript. In my opinion, it’s always good to go beyond the face value of revision suggestions. It’s better to dig a little deeper.
By taking a few days or even weeks to mull things over, I’ve found that the actual revision process goes faster and a bit more smoothly. For instance, my book’s ending was tied up “too nicely,” so the final narrative became bogged down with telling, like I rushed to make everything sum up in a neat and tidy, perfect little bow.
At first, I didn’t do anything about that particular revision. I thought about it. A lot. I imagined a different ending, one that would have a satisfying ending but also leave room for possibility. I envisioned the new ending. Not every detail, but the general idea.
I think I just had to believe in the new ending myself first, before I could sell it to anyone else … future readers, my agent, anybody at all.
So when I finally sat down to revise and DELETED the whole last chapter and a half, it wasn’t that scary. I knew what I was going to replace those lost words with. I was ready to go. With my comfy cotton shirt and loosefitting pants, I put my headsets on and cranked up the jams. The book’s new ending flowed out onto the page in just a few hours. It was magic!
Yes, happiness is … “Learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first time … And happiness is walking hand-in-hand.”
But it is also … Learning how to make revisions into a shiny new story, believing the words first before writing them down. And happiness is … Completing your book and persevering until the end.