When I’m crafting my novels, I write for myself and my characters. Do I like the them, the conflict and plot? Am I moved in some way by each scene? Am I satisfied with the pacing, flow of chapters and word choices? But when working on a revision letter, I’m also writing for the editor who asked for changes. I’m keeping in mind what she wants and the expectations of the agents who are waiting for the updated version. Because in the end, what I like won’t secure representation or a sale. What matters is what they like and believe is marketable. What makes them willing to put their names and reputations on the line, to invest their time and effort.
Usually when I write, my characters guide the story. I see things through their eyes as if I’m watching a movie. When I’m focused on what industry professionals have asked for, it’s more of a challenge to stay in my characters’ heads. I’m often in mine, wondering if this or that is what she meant.
Have I changed/cut/added enough? “I really like this scene, does so much of it have to go?” “Is this new scene as good as the others?” In the end, it’s still my decision. And on occasion, it’s exciting to come up with something I think is even better or is a fabulous addition.
How much revision is too much, whether it’s for a novel, blog entry or letter? I want to feel confident about my writing, not worry I’ve reworked a chapter so much that my voice gets lost. A friend says I’m too picky about spelling, grammar and avoiding typos. Another peruses then re-peruses each email before sending.
How do we know when we’ve spent enough but not too much time, when we’re done, when to let go?