“Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” –Michael Crichton
This is the quote I turn to when I start to wonder if Serpent in a Cage will ever become a book. I’m sure some of you have read on my travails with this particular piece; those of you who haven’t need to know just a few key facts. It’s my big fantasy opus to launch a whole fantasy series, it’s my pride and joy, and it has been through a total of three full rewrites in the past twelve years, give or take. Just when I think I finally have it, I read through the draft, gawk at how awful it is, and restructure it yet again and start from the beginning. Lather, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat again.
Sometimes, I have serious doubts as that this is a project that will ever reach completion, but then I remember that not all books are meant to be written quickly. As a matter of fact, some of the best books aren’t. And it’s okay if it requires multiple revisions and rewrites, because, as Crichton says, books aren’t written; they’re rewritten. I haven’t made it to the seventh rewrite quite yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got there. Will I be able to accept this fact that it may never be perfect eventually? I hope so. I just have to keep reminding myself of this and not give up, and, one day, after the seventh or eighth or fifteenth rewrite, it will finally be mostly ready. Ready enough.
Do you typically find that you don’t write your books so much as rewrite them? How many revisions do your pieces tend to go through before you feel it’s ready? Do you often feel you could do more before sending it out, or do you feel pretty confident once you’ve gone through it a few times?