Monday, April 7, 2014

Awesomeness and the Revision Process

Just over a month ago, I shared pictures, here, of the mural I've been working on at church. At that time, I mentioned that it was “mostly done.” I can’t tell you how many times we left the church after hours of painting saying, “One more day. It’ll be done tomorrow.” Then three days ago, it was actually done. Like, for real. We cleaned up our paints, our brushes, threw away roller naps, folded drop clothes and stowed ladders. But guess what – the following day we were back again, adding a few more finishing touches, because there’s always one more thing.

One of those afternoons while painting a bird perched over the mirror in the children’s bathroom, my daughter commented, “Things keep getting more and more complicated, but they keep getting more and more awesome too.”








 It’s the same way with our stories, isn’t it? Sometimes it feels like they’ll never be finished. I remember the first time I thought my novel was done. That was probably a couple of years and a half dozen revisions ago. But the same thing holds true, the more and more complicated it gets, the more and more awesome it gets as well. And I do love revising. I find it exciting to see a work evolve into more than I ever expected at the outset. 

How about you? Are you ever surprised by what your stories become throughout the process?


36 comments:

  1. Wow, that tree is amazing! And revision is definitely where my stories start to come together. And begin to make sense! =)

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  2. Beautiful.

    Do you know what? Just as I clicked on your blog, you left mine. Weird.

    I'm just a little blogger...

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  3. That is such a beautiful mural, Ruth. I must have missed your earlier post where you first mentioned it. I totally agree with your comment about complications. I've even revised a manuscript after I submitted a query letter because I thought of something that would really add to my story. Hope all is well with you on the East Coast!

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  4. There is no DONE, (she said, after once posting a celebratory blog proclaiming being done ;=} ) only done for now, done with this stage, done for a while.
    I like the Yogi Berra "it ain't done until it's done, and even then it ain't done."

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  5. I can never believe how I've managed to finish anything, Ruth. Sometimes I have a good cry when I get there, I'm so emotional when I finish a story, novel or quilt.
    I do like those trees. I can imagine them appliqued and quilted.

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  6. How fun to see the pictures of the mural as additions were happening. :) It looks wonderful. I agree that when we are working on something creative it can be hard to stop because it seems like something can always be done. I am in the process of editing my book and although I have been through this process with my ms before, there is still so much to do! It is getting better and although it is hard work, I feel so rewarded at the end of each session by the progress I have made. :)

    Great work!
    ~Jess

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  7. Oh Ruth, how absolutely right you are. I too finished my first novel a couple years ago and I thought it was done. Little did I know how much more growing I still had to do as a writer. Two years later, I finally finished and published. What a tremendous journey. As with many things in life, things can get more complicated but the awesomeness factor can also increase along with it!

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  8. I sometimes have that problem. It is cool that I can keep adding and perfecting. It's getting better right? But I have to make sure I keep the end goal in mind. If I get so caught up in revising, I will never query, and I will never be published.

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  9. I think we can always continue tweaking and making things better. That "one more thing" is always there. I guess it's just a matter of knowing when to let it rest. Love the pictures, thanks for sharing!

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  10. Yes, I am frequently surprised by what my stories do. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not :) Your mural is so beautiful, Ruth! What lucky kids who get to enjoy it :)

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  11. The paintings are fantastic! I can't believe you all did such a fabulous job. Everyone will be very impressed, I'm sure. And the similarity to writing is so true. Unfortunately, my "painting" is so messed up, I'm now in the process of throwing primer all over it and starting fresh. :P

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  12. Are you kidding? I'm a Seat-of-the-Pants writer. I'm always tweaking things. Just tonight, a character from a previous book showed up in my current WIP.

    When you were describing your painting process, I fairly shouted, "that's what I do when I write!"

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  13. Oh my gosh, yes! I'm always tweaking. When I look at the difference that a few revisions make, and think of how MUCH better the story would be if I kept tweaking, well, it's enough to make a person crazy. That mural is adorable!

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  14. I just revisited a scene today that morphed into a whole new conflict. Who knew? Love your murals.

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  15. Right??? This is SO TRUE. Such a perfect analogy, Ruth! And goodness, you are VERY talented in so many ways!

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  16. I really love your mural - very cute. :)

    And I can totally relate to the slow progress thing, as I am stuck in revisions. Stuck being the operative word most of the time. ha.

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  17. That mural is amazing! And that quote from your daughter couldn't be more perfect. We slog through the complicated stuff so we can get to the awesomeness. :-)

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  18. I am in awe of that mural. It's "awesome sauce," as people are saying a lot these days! Yes, the more layers a story (or piece of artwork) has, the more it engages and intrigues its audience.

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  19. Shocked is probably a better word for what I feel when I read the final draft. Did I write that? Where did that come from?

    I love your murals, Ruth. They are so sweet and a joy to see.

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  20. Yes! By the time I'm done revising, I can't believe how complicated the whole story has gotten! That's a pretty mural!

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  21. I love it!

    I'm always a little sad when I finish a story. Part of me never wants it to end. Another part is just in shock because it is over. All in all, I love the journey, both ups and downs, all the details we get to add along the way, all of it.

    I LOVE you work by the way. Too cute!

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  22. I love the progress of that tree. It does remind me of drafting and revising. When I'm revising, I'll add a subplot and some more layers. Sometimes finishing seems like it takes forever, although in reality it's just a few months for me.

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  23. It does get more awesome, and those finishing touches are necessary. I also believe there is that turning point when you no longer feel 'stuck' with your story and can sense the petals falling away slowly to show you, the creator, what you'd meant the story to be. How pretty your mural looks, Ruth. Great work!

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  24. Love your murals, Ruth! And I too love the revising part of writing. It's very challenging and amazing to me to see the transformation that just a word here, a sentence there can make on a story. But it is extremely hard to know when to stop revising. Even after I think I have my story just perfect, my critique group can always find something I need to change that I didn't notice! But at some point, you just gotta stop and submit.

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  25. Yes, it does seem as if it's possible to endlessly tinker with my songs -- particularly the lyrics -- and it's hard to determine when it's time for me to stop taking feedback and simply call them finished.

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  26. I'd love that mural on my wall! So lovely.

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  27. Yes! That's exactly it. More complicated; more awesome. Sometimes, that bothers me philosophically. Elegant simplicity is awesome, too.

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  28. YES! I am often surprised how a (sometimes painful) revision can result in a much better piece of work. It makes it difficult to know when to stop, though! = )

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  29. Ditto, Ruth! I feel the same way about the revision process! There's always one more thing! That mural looks awesome!

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  30. Loved the murals and the full post. Such awesome wisdom.

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  31. Ruth, I think the hardest part of revising is letting go of some bit I think is so clever but that doesn't really add anything to the story.

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  32. Ruth, I think the hardest part of revising is letting go of some bit I think is so clever but that doesn't really add anything to the story.

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  33. What a lovely mural, Ruth! I'm sure that people at your church will be blessed by it.
    I know what you mean about it just getting better. I tend to have betas read my book in stages and just when I think I've got it all down--someone will have something else to say that needs fixed. It's frustrating at first, but then when I make the changes, it's so much better.

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  34. Thanks for the comment,hope you had a good Easter too :) This mural is fantastic:)

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