Myths about Writing Novels
I’m working on my second novel with Laura Kelly, my eagle-eyed and talented editor from The Wild Rose Press. I’ve been a serious author for ten years, but daily, my suppositions about writing and publishing get blown to smithereens.
Myth #1 Stories pop out of a writer’s head, like Venus from the clamshell, fully formed.
So not true. Stories might pop out of my experiences and my imagination in mysterious ways, but they are rarely fully formed. No. It’s up to me to sculpt the story myself, then grab an assorted group of critics to give me a feel for how my plot and characters play out for them. More rewriting after that. More critics. More rewriting. One final critique, then I’m ready for submission.
Myth #2 Once the novel is submitted, it is ‘fully formed.’
Don’t you wish! From what I understand, publishers expect a novel to be 85% to 95% complete. Makes sense to me. Still, the editing of that 5% to 15% of the novel is a challenging, complex process, guided by an astute editor and a willing writer. I have never worked so hard as I have on my story under the tutelage of my editor. This is the nuance stage, the chance to perfect a novel. Think word by word, sentence by sentence, scene by scene. My editor and I rethink the whole book, making sure that the whole is truly the best sum of its parts.
Myth #3 Revision is painful…editor as dentist, writer as patient, book as a pesky root canal.
Definitely not true. I love revising my novels under the watchful eye of my editor. This is the ultimate experience of an artist…the big league, the BIG show. As much as I adore my cadre of armchair critics, it’s in the capable hands of my editor that I feel the Venus of my story rising to perfection. My editor knows my market, she gets my book and after years of editing, she also understands how to help a writer like me manage the tough job of revision.
Any thoughts about my myths? Do you have more to add? Am I nuts that I love revision so much?