Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On That Revising Thing

After the Christopher Moore adventure, I looked him up on the interweb. I checked out his FAQ and all was going well until I got to #18. The question: "Do you do a lot of rewriting." The answer: "Almost none..." Then it wasn't going well any more. To tell the whole world about the lack of rewriting smacks of arrogance. He later qualifies it by saying he writes very slowly, thus implying that he does a lot of editing as he goes. While it buys him a little bit of credit back, I was still irked.

After all, here I am, knee-deep in my third round of formal revisions on my thesis. Third! And, we're not talking a surface polish, either. We're talking cutting out whole pages, adding in whole paragraphs, and generally still working on getting it the right shape. The last thing I (or Deb, or Jenny, for that case) want to hear is how "easy" it is for Moore. Ugh.

Of course, what finally saved my mood was when I was listening to a playlist of music I have and a song from Rent came on, thus making me remember Jonathan Larson. I talked about him in my very first post to this blog. I like Rent. I own the movie and have the Broadway soundtrack. It has lots of good stuff in it and if I could ever see it live on Broadway, I'd be psyched. But, back to Larson. The musical is famous now. Incredibly famous, in fact. Which is cool, but even better is the encouraging part where it took Larson an amazingly long time to... *drumroll* revise it. We're talking seven years from when he first had the idea to when it was good enough to go on stage.

He worked on it, worked on it, worked on it, and then tried to get it on stage. And then he was told it wasn't good enough. Then it went through major changes. Then it still wasn't good enough. More changes. Lather, rinse, repeat. But, in the end, it was worth it. Not, sadly, that Larson got to enjoy it since he died on the night of the final dress rehearsal. (Yeah, there's a morbid joke in there about the effects of too much revision).

So, in the revising scheme of things, all this time I'm spending on my thesis isn't too bad. Yeah, I'm no Christopher Moore, but it could be worse. I could spend nearly a decade on it, finally get a book deal, and die before the sucker's actually printed, only to have it win a posthumous Pulitzer.


Jenny said...

I'll make a brilliant speech in your honor...cursing Moore's name and raising your own sacrifice to the tune of 'in your face, you no-revising hack who hasn't won a Pulitzer'. Watcha think?

Ali said...

Aw, thanks. That alone makes it worth it.

Debbie said...

Meanwhile, I'll mount an operation to break into his office and find conclusive evidence of drafts one, two, three and six!

Fleur Bradley said...

Yeah, that sounds like hog. No revising? I'm not even that good :-)