As a general rule, I like revising. I know there a lot of people who hate it, but I prefer playing with the words I’ve already written: chopping, cutting, moving, shifting, shaking, and pushing them around. Polishing them until they gleam. Forcing them to say what I meant to say the first time through.
A blank page is an invitation but what I do with it is never right the first time.
What I do find difficult about revising is going back to the beginning. Once I’ve brought my first draft to the stage where I feel like it’s ready to be read by others, I feel like the character arcs have been completed. Everyone’s journey is complete: the main character has learned what she needs to learn about herself; the hero and heroine have been united; the villain has been punished.
I’ll give you an example.
The second novel I wrote — the one that came this close to getting published — was revised so many times I really can’t count them. My nemesis, the first chapter, was done and redone; characters were deleted; a major incident was moved from an early chapter to a later chapter and back again. My main character’s name changed, and changed, and changed again. Each time, I made my main character suffer more, a good thing from the story’s perspective but very hard for me, the writer, because the more I wrote her, the more I loved her, and the more I loved the closure of her story. I shared her satisfaction with where she had ended up and her hopes and excitement about her future… which was by no means certain (and in her sequel, which exists only in my head, things do get dicey). These emotions made it harder and harder to go back to the beginning to write the nervous, uncertain young woman that she was. The woman who fought the wrong battles and trusted the wrong people.
I just wanted to move forward. To write that sequel. To give her the rest of her story.
Do you experience this as an author? Do you feel almost like a reader when you are writing, feeling a sense of finality — not that the writing is complete, but that the story is?