Anatomy of a Novel

Gentle Reader, I have finished the YA project, which has been to three of my favorite readers, who all had excellent, insightful feedback to give me.  Now, I must open it up and dig around inside, and while I love–truly, I love–the revision process, I find myself hesitant to start it right away.  I know I want to get it done, but I also want to let these comments marinate a bit and really get inside my head.  I know what needs to be reworked; I am just not ready to do it.

There is something seductive about first drafts.  We think they are perfect because they are ours, when we know, damn well, that they are not.  I think of Anne Bradstreet in this moment, the Author to her Book, and imagine it as a child we love, we recognize its flaws, and try to perfect them before the child runs out the door.  But they are still flaws, and what we have is still love; often, the two do not mix all that well.

Revision is the most important process of writing.  Anyone who tells you differently is trying to pretend that he is a Romantic, finished a draft on daffodils and the mind’s eye.  But let us remember Wordsworth, too–yes, even Papa Wordsworth–wrote many, many drafts of his poems.  He just pretended he didn’t.

What is your favorite part of the writing process, Friends?


Like what you’ve read?  Visit my website at The Life and Times of the Postmodern Bluestocking.


One thought on “Anatomy of a Novel”

  1. I like the research best–time in the library, reading, stumbling across that surprising tidbit, the delight of accumulating and organizing
    information, dreaming of how brilliant I’m going to appear… I also enjoy revising and proofing. It’s just that horrible writing stuff in the middle that I avoid.

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