Monday, December 12, 2011

now that INTERN has turned in her latest revision...

...she is going to:

1. Check herself into the nearest Sanitorium.

2. Change out of and possibly wash the black fleece Revision Pants she has been wearing for six weeks.

3. Eat something that hasn't been sitting in a #%@$#$ crockpot for a week and a half.

4. Apologize to the people she has alienated, snarled at, and/or wept on over the course of said Revision.

5. Learn a new juggling trick.

6. Identify a new sort of wild mushroom.

7. Make plans to write a second novel that is infinitely simpler, neater, and more obedient than the first one. A foolproof novel! A novel that will require no Revision whatsoever! A novel that will come out of the box pre-assembled and smelling like glue!

8. A novel that won't wrap INTERN up in a poisonous cocoon of self-doubt and despair! A novel that will leave INTERN feeling like a genius every time she writes instead of a bumbling hack! A novel that will assuage all INTERN's fears and insecurities! A novel made of gold!

9. Search India suitcase for leftover Valium.

10. Watch some Christmas specials.

11. Go for a walk.

12. Look up "perspective" in the dictionary.

Friday, December 2, 2011

everything INTERN needs to know about revision, she learned from her phlebotomist

A few days ago, INTERN wandered into a blood drive and signed up on a whim. The day was young; the cookies looked good; INTERN had nothing better to do.

The phlebotomist was a sandy-haired Viking in a long white coat who entertained INTERN with phlebotomy fun facts as he set her up on a rolling table and installed the needle. However, things got less fun from there.

Once the needle was in, INTERN lay on the table for what seemed like forever. Her arm ached like hell. Her blood dawdled out sluggishly. The lights on the ceiling buzzed. The phlebotomist wandered away to gossip with the Red Cross volunteer at the sign-in table. But INTERN's spirits were held aloft by the idea that all this discomfort was for the greater good.

When the phlebotomist came back from chatting up the sign-in volunteer, he unceremoniously yanked the needle out of INTERN's arm.

"What happens now?" said INTERN. "Is my blood going into the blood bank?"

"Nope," said the Viking, tossing INTERN's bag of blood aside like a loaf of moldy bread.

"What do you mean 'nope'?"

"We can't use it. Too thick. Next time, drink more water before you come in."

INTERN couldn't believe her ears. After all this waiting...all this aching...

"So what happens to blood you can't use?"

"We throw it out."


This was an outrage! This was unbelievable! Nobody throws out INTERN's blood! Especially not after making her lie on some table for an hour and a half!

INTERN's facial expression communicated as much, whereupon the Viking handed her a Star Wars band-aid and let her in on a little secret.

"Don't worry, lady. You'll make more."


Editors have been saying the same thing to writers from time immemorial.

When INTERN feels reluctant, indignant, rageful or wistful about cutting yet another scene from yet another draft of a WIP, she tries to remember that words are to writers as blood is to...well, everyone: We make more. That's just what we do.

Even though it's hard to see your blood thrown on the stink barge, it's good to know there's more where that came from. And if you drink more water this time, it might even end up in the bank.