You don’t have a story until you write it. That’s my adage and a spinoff from my overall writer’s motto: no guts, no glory.

 

But … writing the story isn’t all. To me the most important part of writing is the revision process and I would like to add a second line to the adage: You don’t have a story until you revise it.

Multiple times.

A story needs to grow up. It needs to mature and it can only reach maturity if you mold and guide it, if you change and tweak it.

I revise my stories multiple times and I think revision is where the true joy of being a writer blossoms. Yes, I also get discouraged every now and again, like when I hit the fifteenth round of revisions, but I keep reminding myself that there’s no story without revision.

A story often changes with every revision. Should that worry you? No. Think of it as a work of art in progress, as finding new and exciting ways to show your story.

 

Last night, I was at a restaurant that had work of one of the most admired artists hanging from the wall: Picasso’s Les deux femmes nues. An excellent example of how your first impression, the first draft of your story, can evolve into a work of art that still holds the heart and soul of your story but has a distinctly different feel to it.

 

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The first ‘draft’

 

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The 10th version

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The final version

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The full process