Oh, The Joys and Hardships of Revision!

As every serious writer knows, a good book has to be assiduously and meticulously revised to reach a satisfactory (if not “perfect”) state before publication.  After the initial flush of inspiration, one must go back over the text word by word, line by line, to make sure the writer has effectively said what he or she meant to say.

This process can be by turns fun and infuriating and laborious. But it simply cannot be skipped or the resultant manuscript is doomed to be malformed dreck.  You can bet on it.

I thought the writers here would appreciate some vivid examples of just how hard our very best authors worked the revision thing. It’s gratifying to know we are not alone, but in excellent company!

proustProust’s maniacal revisions of Remembrance of Things Past

jane austenSome of Jane Austen’s own edits of Persuasion

great expectations msCharles Dickens’ revisions of first paragraph of Great Expectations

So take heart, writers, nobody ever said writing great prose was easy or dropped like ripe apples fully formed and polished from the pen or keyboard. Hang in there and re-work it until it sings!

For an affordable professional humdinger edit, something I’ve been doing for over 25 years, contact me through Margaret Langstaff Editorial.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger.
This entry was posted in fiction, Literature, novel, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oh, The Joys and Hardships of Revision!

  1. bowmanauthor says:

    Margaret, thank you so much for sharing those masterpieces. Even in our paperless world with cut, copy, paste, many of my final manuscripts end up looking like some of your examples. Maybe you just have to roll in the muck to find the diamond that’s hidden just out of reach.

    Liked by 1 person

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