Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Writing: Emotional Attachment

I have a disabling weakness when it comes to my written art: I hate revising.

At most, I do two drafts of any given piece. It used to be the first draft was handwritten, before I had the means to type wherever I go. The second draft would then be the typed version, and it would also be the final version. After that, I'd only do surface revisions: sentence structure, grammar, language/word choice, and spelling. Occasionally for longer pieces I may move sections around, but the sections themselves will always stay whole.

This will be a roadblock when I start trying to sell myself to publishers: I start feeling too emotionally attached to my art, which tends to happen to anything you pour your heart and soul into, and it becomes painful to do major revisions. I understand poetry is an area that has low concern for this, as I can throw punctuation around as well as the next person. Fiction, on the other hand, which I write as the characters tell me what to write--and I take very little credit for myself--and trying to change that feels like I'm trying to lie about their achievements, that their biography (if if the characters only exist in my head and so are fictional to everyone else) isn't good enough the way they told it to me.

I don't doubt there are publishing houses and agents out there who understand, but they still have a business to run. If they ask for more editing than I can bear, I may have to swear off reading my own publications! I've heard of actors never wanting to watch the movies that they star in, and I imagine this falls in the same area.

I don't know if I could bear it.