Yes, there's always revision. I confess to having been the world's
worst reviser. I couldn't bear to change a single one of my hard-won
episodes. Which isn't the best approach to take not with
publishers, not with readers either. After all, the novel only exists
in cooperation with the reader, you create it together and
if the reader feels there's not much suspense in a particular episode,
it's no use to say, But there must be, it's there because I put
Nowadays, I go out of my way to get feedback from at least
a dozen sample readers for any first draft, plus editors of course.
I think of editors as readers who have a special talent for explaining
their responses, articulating why something isn't working.
I wouldn't rely on any single reader, but if several readers are
saying the same thing, I know I have to revise.
I tell myself that revision is a challenge to lateral thinking.
Could events happen in a different way? If I lose something (and
theres's always a loss in revision), can I gain something else in
a new and unexpected way? Can I make some other possibility as wanted
as my first possibility was? Can I make it as real and colourful
or even more so?
That's what I tell myself, but it's still hard knacker. The difficulty
is that every part of a novel impacts on every other part. Put one
thing right, and you're almost certainly pushing something else
out of shape. For serious structural revisions, I don't believe
you can ever confine changes to one isolated chunk, I believe you
have to rethink all the way through. I'm find that the time I spend
on revisions is about a third to a half of the time I spend on producing
the first draft.