Being an author is so much more than “letting one’s creative juices flow” (to borrow the words of fellow creator Artie Q) as a novel transitions from the idea stage into an actual book. In fact, much of the time it feels anything BUT creative. For instance, there are the necessary processes of revising and editing. Moreover, if one is an indie author, there is also the business end of things — such as designing and formatting, acquiring or creating a book cover, making distribution decisions, and promoting, just to name a few. For today, though, I am musing over the revision and editing processes.
It is helpful to understand the difference between revising and editing for the best possible realization of one’s work. CreateSpace has posted this clever graphic:
To be honest, I tend to do both of them at the same time. As I revise — adding, removing, moving, and substituting — I’m also fixing any mistakes I find in capitalization, word usage, punctuation, and spelling. Of course, inevitably, I am also making new mistakes I’m not yet aware of.
In the end, there is always just one more edit to get through. Sadly, mistakes are low-down things that have the mysterious power to sneak through an awful lot of editing — done by me, and others — a realization that can wring sighs of weariness, frustration and dismay from an author. Hence, the popular internet meme: “I do my best proofreading after hitting the send button.”
Does that mean editing is more important than revisions? No, of course not. However, it is just AS important. Frankly, in my opinion, there is a point at which a writer needs to stop revising in order to maintain the veracity of the work. On the other hand, there can never be too many edits.
Of course, at some point one must let go.
No doubt, I will continue to do A.R.M.S and C.U.P.S. together. I will also, even when I think I’m finished, do one more final edit — a final showdown between me and those low-down sneaky mistakes — before sending my creation out into the world.