How many revisions does it take for your MS to lose its spark?
“Let’s find out.
I wish I only had to do three revisions. Three, and I might still be gushing about it for launch. But I find when I’m reading my novel for the twentieth time my MS loses its spark.
Finish the MS—Wow, this is the best thing I’ve ever written! Perfect!
First revision after letting it sit—Wow, this needs work but what great scenes and dialog! I love it!
Second revision—Wow, I can’t believe how many mistakes I missed after that last edit, but it’s still awesome!
Fifth revision—Wow, still so much work. I’ve got to rewrite a few scenes, but it’s pretty good stuff.
Tenth revision—Wow, I think I need glasses since I’m still finding mistakes! Eh. It’s okay.
Fifteenth revision—Wow, another revision, I don’t think I can read it again. I hope I’m going in the right direction.
Nineteenth revision—Wow, this has to be the last revision! I’m so sick of it! That’s it. I’m done.
Twentieth revision—Wow, is this even any good anymore?
I’m sure this happens to every author, but I imagine it must be harder for the self-published author since you have to feel confident about the piece you’re about to release to the world—on your own. You don’t have team cheering you on from behind. A team that has thought so highly of your project that they have invested in it.
Of course, even LOTR and Pride and Prejudice would lose its spark after twenty reads within a short amount of time. So what do you do when you start to question if your MS is still good when you have worn it out like a pair of comfortable sneakers?
You must have rounds of beta readers. You need someone at every stage of processing to tell you that you’ve got something there. You need someone to see your twentieth revision with fresh eyes. You need them to tell you it’s amazing and which parts they laughed and cried at. Then they tell you two or three small things that they would change and you’re back to revision twenty-one:
Wow, they loved it, so this must be good. I just have to fix a few things and it’s off to the editor who will be so impressed with how much work I’ve done this time.
After the editor—Wow, I can’t believe I missed all these mistakes. Am I ever going to learn comma placement? *bangs head*
So what about you guys? How many revisions does it take before your eyes bleed and doubt sets in?