Around a month ago, I submitted a manuscript to an agent I was extremely excited about. I had met him at a convention, spoken with him at length, and convinced him to take a look at the first two novels in my fantasy series. I made some quick revisions he requested, and sent them off.
Then I waited. Far less time than I expected, honestly.
Then the rejection came.
But lo, and behold, the rejection came with sound reasoning, and the assurance that he would be interested in seeing those manuscripts revised and any future projects I may work up.
This is a win, but it brings me to the topic I want to discuss: revising, reworking, or rewriting.
Based on this feedback, I’m straight up rewriting. There are several reasons for this, and most of them filter back to inexperience on my part when I started this project. This novel was the first piece of fiction I had tried to write since grade school and I wasn’t very good. There were fundamental problems that simply rewording a sentence or dropping a few adverbs wasn’t going to fix. So, I rolled up my sleeves, tucked my pants into my galoshes, and trudged through the sewage.
Yes I just compared two years of writing and revising to poop water. I’m classy like that.
I currently have the stance that what I wrote, edited, modified, cut up, had someone else edit, gave to readers, shopped to agents, and tried desperately to get published, is a beautiful and shiny first draft. A first draft that has been edited twelve times. A first draft that will serve me well when I need to refer to the next events to come in my rewrite. A first draft that I can treat as a wonderfully detailed outline.
That hurts a bit, but when I’m done with this rewrite, I will have a much stronger book, with dense prose, a tight storyline, stronger characters, and better relationships.
At least I fucking hope so.