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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Top 10 Signs You've Spent Too Much Time Revising

Revision.  For any author, it's an inescapable part of life; but sometimes there's such a thing as too much revising.  Here's a list of possible signs you've been at it too long:

You know you might be revising too much if. . .

1.  the backspace button has worn out and constantly pops off your keyboard.  

2.  everything you've written seems perfect.

3.  everything you've written seems so horrible you want to crawl under a rock and hide your face.

4. there are no adverbs anywhere in your manuscript.

5.  if you have to think of another way to show a scene instead of telling it, you're going to put your head through the computer screen.

6.  the only descriptive words you can think of are four-letter expletives.

7.  you've given up on removing overused words and now, with wild abandon, you're sprinkling your favorites everywhere.

8.  your proofreaders have a bi-weekly subscription to your updated revisions.

9.  your 80,000 word novel has become a 10,000 word novella.

10.  you wake up before the alarm clock goes off because your manuscript is "calling" to you.

This list isn't entirely tongue in cheek.  Six of the ten signs are symptoms I've suffered.  One is the broken backspace button.  I'll leave it up to you to guess the other five.

Too much revision can be as bad as too little revision.  Among other things, it destroys the voice and flow of your story.  So what's the magic cut-off point?  When do you say "enough is enough"?  I'll get back to you with an intelligent answer if I ever figure one out.