Another Look at Revision Fears

When I started writing Travelers, it was just to prove to myself that I could do it, I could finish a novel. Sometime during that process, though, I decided (possibly because other people said so, though I don't remember now) that Travelers might be good enough to get published.

That was before I knew anything about the publishing industry. Before I'd read Nathan's FAQ, the Questions and Face Lifts on Evil Editor, or every single Query Shark query. Regardless, once I got that idea in my head, whatever I was working on became The One That Would Get Me There.

This was mostly a good thing. It made me work hard and write with confidence. But now, as I plan my third novel and prepare to revise my second, I'm discovering this idea has a dark side. The newest novel is the one that will get published (in my head), therefore my old novel -- the one I have to revise -- is not.

I'm wondering if this is the real reason I stopped work on Travelers even though I'd gotten a couple of enlightening personal rejections. Because I'm looking at the work it will take to get Air Pirates to a place I'm happy with, and I wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to write novel #3.

It wouldn't, of course. I'd get to the end of The Cunning, send it to beta readers, and the cycle would start again with novel #4. Nothing will get published if I don't revise it, usually multiple times.

Plus, I really, really like Air Pirates. It's a world I want to write at least a trilogy in, if not more. That, more than anything, is why I will polish that thing until my spit hurts. Really, all this self-doubt is just because I haven't started yet.


Davin Malasarn said...

I feel the same way. I think in the beginning we improve so much from ones story to the next, that what we did before feels weak. But, that's just our own changing standards. Even though I think I'm a better writer now, I still believe my first book has elements that people will enjoy reading. I try to remember that as I send out queries.

Natalie Whipple said...

I'm so happy this only took you 3 novels to learn. It, uh, took me a lot more. Like 8. The next idea might be shiny and new, but there will always be a revision process and it will always be hard.

MattyDub said...

Your spit hurts? I think you're doing it wrong.

Adam Heine said...

Ah, but see, Natalie, 8 Whipple novels takes like 8 months. While 3 Heine novels takes (so far) 6 years. So you still learned faster ;-)

Matt: LOL!

Natalie Whipple said...

Aw, okay, I guess that's true. lol. (But it was actually 3 years:P The first one took a whole 1.5 years!)