Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Monkey On My Back


Ok, this is not a picture of a monkey on my back...but when I was searching 'monkey' pics and saw this one I just couldn't turn away.

Who'll join me for a collective, "Oooooo, so cute!"??

Anyway, I've been feeling a bit of revision pressure lately.

I had a conversation with a trusted friend and told him some of my revision ideas and he said,

"Tess, if you're going to do it, do it right." (meaning he didn't care for my ideas)

"What?" (imagine my jaw gaping in shock and disbelief)

"I mean," he continued, "don't cut corners. Make it as good as the rest of the book. Make it better."

That's why he's such a trusted source for me.

He was right. My 'get it done' personality was looking for the easy fix. The quickest way to technically 'do' the revisions, to check them off my list.

but it wasn't necessarily my very best work

If we are going to do this thing....this writing journey....this step towards publication, then we must do it right.

No cutting corners.

Make our work everything we can possibly make it.

Follow most of the rules and break the ones that will make our book stand out.

Take the time to put in those layers (as Lady Glamis calls them)

Does this ring true to you?

It did to me.

Suddenly the monkey I was feeling on my back has disappeared. I feel energized by a friend's truth and by his challenge.

Now, give me that revision list....I'm gonna do it right!


Lisa and Laura said...

Oh gosh, I really hope we're doing it right because I'm not sure how many more times I'll be able to revise this same manuscript.

Somewhere out there published authors are laughing maniacally at me.

Tess said...

Lisa and Laura - this is not meant to be a stress, but an encouragement! You guys have nothing to worry about. It was just me tyring to find the easy way out.

well, guess what? no such thing in writing.

that's okay. I'm totally up for this challenge! I love that my friend was honest with me and - because of it - I'll have a better novel in the end.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Been there, done that! Doing it right this time =) It's hard, but so worth it!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

First: awwwww, those bitty monkeys! Are they for real???
Second: It sounds like you know what's right and that has made you energized. Go for it with all your heart. After all, it is your baby, this book.
I'm doing a revision directed by myself and, so far, I have rewritten my first five chapters pretty much from scratch, not from copies of the first draft. I know the characters and know what they need to do so it doesn't bother me. Tonight was my crit group and they said they loved the deeper layers I'm adding this time, so I think I'm on to something.
Let's get it done!

Sarah said...

Those cannot be monkeys.

And so true about the post. Honest friends are awesome.

L.T. Elliot said...

How wonderful to have a friend you know you can trust to give it to you straight and encourage you to do your best.
I'm very, very glad the monkey's off your back. Keep it up and I can't wait to hear how it goes!

Yunaleska said...

Keep plodding away Tess (or should it be plotting?) You can do it!

Anonymous said...

I've been revising forEVER and I totally know what you mean. When I try and take the easy way out, something doesn't feel right and it really bothers me, every time I pass back over that part. It doesn't matter if it's all technically fine, sometimes there's just something you know is off. And it's not until you suck it up and do what you have to do and really work on that part that you'll be satisfied. But those always end up being the best parts later, so it's worth it!

Martin Willoughby said...

Awww, cute monkeys.

(Face turns serious)

Sometimes writing gets so difficult that we look for easy answers. That's when we need good friends to remind us to always do our best. You've got some good 'uns.

Scott said...

Monkeys are cute . . . until you actually live with them. Trust me on that one. Not that I've lived with a monkey . . . well, I don't think I have . . . but I have friends who have two semi-adorable sugar monkeys as pets. They can keep them.

I'm right there with you on this one, Tess. As much as I sometimes want to cut corners, I know I need to put my best effort forward . . . Every . . . Single . . . Time!


Amanda J. said...

*points and squeals at monkeys* OhmygoshIwantone!!

Moving on. I'm glad you have someone who isn't afraid to be straight with you and even more so that he got you jazzed about revisions.

I'm nearing the end of my 1st draft and will be THRILLED to start revisions. I can't wait to start making it better even though I know the process will be long and difficult, because that's just what we have to do. Write, write, write, rip it apart, and write some more.

Glad you got that monkey off your back, now keep going! :)

Suzanne said...

ooh ooh oooh! I know this feeling! This is GOOD feeling. Like a cold clean breeze, or a slap in the face, and all of a sudden you don't understand how you didn't see it before! Yay Tess!

Michelle said...

I hear you. I so know that moment when the rest of the Slushbusters are all saying the same thing needs work. And lots of it. And part of me is in my head just telling myself to shut up and listen, because they're right, while the other part of me is screaming, "Nooooo! That will be so much work!" I've seen it in them, too, during critique sessions.

We've come to make a joke of it occasionally. "I think you need to rewrite this whole thing from the point of view of...(insert secondary character here.)

Cindy said...

Great point, Tess! I've been feeling pressure as well lately, but this is pressure to GET IT RIGHT. Once publication was within my grasp (and getting closer and closer) I suddenly realized that everything counts. My stories are a reflection of me and I want the best to come through, as well as the message I was supposed to write.

Sun Up said...

My step dad told me when he was a little boy, they had a spider monkey named Cornflake. They named him that because he would get up in the morning and pour himself a bowl of cornflakes. And then he died because he drank a whole liter of grape soda.

True story. Well, true in the sense that he told me...the rest, now that I'm no longer 8 years old...was probably untrue.

In other words--hell..I WISH I revising. I wish I was typing my thing on a goddamned computer. It's worse when you're writing a 80,000 word novel by hand.

I'm the odd one out, but revising gets me tingly in the pants!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Love the pic. The whole "get it right" thought can get so confusing at times. I struggle with knowing when it is just "right." But I got ya on cutting corners.
~ Wendy

PJ Hoover said...

It totally rings true! Going the extra steps is what has to make the difference. It's what makes any business successful, right.
And on that note, I'm off to write!

But...the monkeys are darling!

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Those monkeys kind of creep me out. They're abonrmally small and could be hiding anywhere--n my prnter, behind the soap, in the butter dish--and I bet they bite.

Tess, I'm glad you feel like you made a huge step forward. But I never doubted for a minute you'd rock those revisions. You're just too good. :) Kudos, though, for friends like that! :)

Jill Kemerer said...

Okay--most adorable picture ever?? Still have a goofy look on my face (uh-oh, POV alert--I can't see my own face...had to channel a dear crit. partner!) from those tiny little monkeys!

I'm doing it right. These revisions have been the longest, hardest ones I've ever tackled. It's taking me twice as long as usual to revise this book. My teeth grind together. My shoulders tense up. But it's my best book and it's worth it.

Good luck!

Lady Glamis said...

Tess, this really is important advice.

Layers take a LONG time. My two books won't be ready for querying for a year or two. That seems like forever, but I want to get it RIGHT!

Tess said...

Such super-fantastic comments. I think you guys really "get" this and it's so cool to me! It is a GOOD feeling to know you're going to do it right and make it representative of your very best.

We can do hard things! and, in the end, it will be great. *huge grin*

Stephanie Faris said...

Revisions. Ick! I hate them. But it's part of the process.

B.J. Anderson said...

I totally agree. I've cut whole chapters before and rewritten huge sections of some of my manuscripts. I'm always happier with the result.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

that is some kind of good friend! aren't they wonderful to have in your life? :)

Sun Up said...

so um...there aren't monkey's really that small are there?

*hears crickets chirping*

Tess said...

Sun Up - I don't know, do you think the pic could be a fake? Maybe baby monkeys? Perhaps I'll see if I can squeeze a little google time in to reserach...

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

Finally, I made it to the end "of all those comments" Mrs. Popularity.

Oooooo so cute monkeys!!!

I hope I am doing it right and that it does get done but I keep telling myself patience is a virtue. Good luck with the revisions.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Wow, this totally resonates with me today. I am getting ready to once again revise the so-called "final" draft of my WIP, and I really really really really really really really want to cut corners and just get the stupid thing off my desk already. I'm not going to cut those corners though, not when I've already put months of my life into the darn thing, but I will allow myself to whine and grumble as I trudge through the long, slow path of revisions.

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

Good luck with the revisions. I wish I was at that stage.

I'm a horrid revisionist though.

Danyelle said...

*revision cookies*

Good luck! It's wonderful to have awesome friends like that!

Anita said...

I've done mediocre revisions...they never get you anywhere. It's hard work trying to get published. I totally get why everybody thinks they can do it and so few do.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh YES! And, those monkeys are ADORABLE!!!!