Monday, October 1, 2007

Revision, revision, revision

One of my greatest blessings in my writing adventures has been my sister-in-law, Rebecca. She has been helping me review and edit since I first managed to write a complete manuscript over ten years ago. Through the process, she taught me how to write and then proceeded to cheer me on as my first novels made it into print.

As she was helping me revise yet another novel, I was reminded of how much fun writing can be. On the phone tonight she pointed out a few ill-worded phrases and enjoyed a good laugh at my expense (or rather the expense of my characters.) As we giggled over some of the funny phrases that definitely didn't belong, I realized that Rebecca didn't just help me learn how to write, she also taught me how to take criticism.

Several months ago on my way to Arizona I sat beside a man who was also a writer. He had self-published a couple of books and was carrying them with him on the plane. As we chatted about writing, he made the comment that the reason he never tried to publish through traditional channels is that he didn't want anyone changing his words. I gently explained that I believe my novels get better with editing and that it is a team effort between editor and writer that produces the best possible product. He didn't agree. I didn't bother to argue. After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Personally, I am truly grateful for the many people who have been part of the editing process for each of my books. I can't say I've always agreed with everything suggested, but I can't count the number of times that an editor (or a relative) caught a problem I had never even considered. Every once in a while, we even get a laugh out of the process.


Ajoy said...

Such an amazing blessing to have someone so close to you help you out so much.

What comes to mind when I read about your encounter with man writer- was...sometimes you you need to hear other peoples perspectives in order to be more firm on our own. Meaning- you heard his point of view, you didn't really agree- but it probably embedded a deeper apprciation and choice in editing you have chosen.

I like your attitude about editors! I haven't got to the editing part in my first novel -yet. I will admit I'm nervous. So thanks for your positive take.

Traci Hunter Abramson said...


I think you're right that my opinions were probably deepened when faced with a conflicting perspective.

I hope your first editor is as wonderful as the people I've been able to work with. Every time I read my first novel, I'm amazed at how my editor was able to help transform it from a polished draft to what I wanted it to be.

Annette Lyon said...

Heavens, I can't imagine letting a book go to press without a good, solid edit--and that's AFTER my critique group has slashed it to ribbons!

Traci Hunter Abramson said...

Thank goodness for people who are willing to slash our writing to ribbons in a way that helps instead of hurts!