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  • Louise Fuller

My least favourite part of writing


I’ve just finished the edits on my latest book and as usual I’m feeling sad and relieved that it’s all over.

Sad because I’ve spent months with my characters and I will miss them, and relieved because basically all but the most entry-level revisions make me feel like this.

It’s not an ego thing. I’m not having an artistic hissy fit about my ‘voice’ - I almost always agree with my editor.

But I suppose there is an element of ‘this is my book not yours’.

Plus, revisions obviously require me to review what I have already mentally signed off.

All writers ‘revise’ as they write. Changing words, moving paragraphs, swapping POV is part of the writing process and it feels very natural.

Revisions are different.

Going back and reading, and then trying to edit what you’ve written days, sometimes weeks after you wrote it, feels intrusive and can be demoralising.

Perhaps that’s why, for me anyway, ‘rewriting’ is so much harder to do than writing.

But however much I don’t want to do my revisions, I do want to make my book the best it can be. And I know my editor has the same goal.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to share my tips on dealing with your revisions.

Read through your edits at least twice. Like I said earlier, it’s normal to feel a mix of panic and irritation when something you’ve worked hard to produce gets criticised.

So let those feelings pass before you even think about making any changes.

Go for a walk. Watch some TV. Or just sleep on it.

Remember your editor wants to help you to sell books. Start from the premise that your editor is on your side. If your book is being published then you are already part of a collaborative process.

Your editor is also part of that process.

She or he is there to make your book tight, to keep the pace moving and to make sure everything is as clear to the reader as it is to you, the writer. (This is often a problem for me, particularly in early drafts when a lot of motivation is still in my head.)

It helps to have a fresh pair of eyes.

Don’t focus on the negative. Assuming your editor doesn’t hate the entire book, revisions are there to make a good book better.

And if you don’t understand something she has said or you disagree with her interpretation then talk to her about it.

A good editor will want to answer your questions, and sometimes talking through plotting or backstory can really bring clarity to your own thoughts or spark off an idea for your next book.

Finally, don’t forget: if you are in a position to be working with an editor you must be doing something right.

Happy revising!




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