Saturday, March 27, 2010

fear of change

Ever since Nick got in touch with his "70s self," he's been a little scarce around here. He says he's on a spiritual walkabout in Topanga Canyon. That means Drew might have to manage the blog next week when I go to New York.

Unless Nick comes back.

Yesterday's post was kind of prophetic. I visited some great kids at Newbury Park High School, and, of course, I was asked what I thought was the very best thing about being a writer.

I also got quite a few comments about the post (off this site) from other authors about their favorite things about being writers. [Side note: Lewis? Yvonne? Pajamas? Really???]

Then, after my library visit (Newbury Park High has a fantastic library and library staff), I got to sit in on a creative writing class. They have block scheduling there, so the class was about 90 minutes long -- perfect for a writing class. The kids there are so smart and talented, and it was a rejuvenating pleasure to spend time with them. I also got to read and hear some of their very creative poetry.

And I did some readings for them from The Marbury Lens, too. And yes, kids are marking their calendars for November when it will be coming out.

But yesterday's blog also received a very nice comment from "Another Writer," who ended with this thought:

I'm not too thrilled about revisions only because I get really invested in my characters and their "quirks" that I fear will have to be taken out. I've never published a book or gone through "real revisions" but it is a very real fear for me.

I'd like to say something about that.

First, I think your fears are unfounded and you should put them to rest and keep working on what you love doing.

A few weeks back, I read a post on an agent's blog about editing and editors. I apologize for not remembering exactly who the agent was. On her blog, she said something to the effect that there were just a handful of "real" editors left in publishing -- ones who really loved what they did, took their projects to heart, and truly worked with their authors to help them craft the best work they could possibly produce.

Not being an agent, I don't know anything about the population density of such editors, but I have found this to be the case with mine, so I'm either very fortunate or the blogging agent is, perhaps, a bit alarmist.

AW, if you are really invested in your characters and their quirks, as you say, then the depth of their dimensions is very likely going to be what attracts the eye of a "real" editor. I can't imagine that those elements would be things to remove.

One more thought, though, about revisions: It's been my experience, having worked through the process multiple times, that it is almost never the case of taking something out of what I've written -- it's almost always about putting more into it, and that can be a really liberating, uplifting, and enjoyable process.

Definitely not something to be afraid of once you've made it to that stage in the process.