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On Editing and Revisions

When you're in the midst of a revision on a book that you've been through a dozen times it's easy to get bogged down. It's easy to feel as though no sentence matters and word choices are less than meaningless. It's easy to feel like no one wants to read your book anyway. More than anything, it's easy to forget that you wanted to write this book in the first place.

I've been hovering around those feelings as I toil on the book I'm readying for publication. I've re-written whole sections, I've changed character motivations, I've added, subtracted, and, hopefully, multiplied.

And the hardest part of this process is having to keep the whole novel in your head, knowing that if you beat in a dent in one spot it won't protrude awkwardly in another spot altogether.

I'm constantly reminding myself that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

And it's easy to do that every time I find just the right word. Or tweak things in just the right spot. You can feel it. It all falls into place and there's almost no better feeling on Earth. But getting there is a slog.

Perhaps the hardest part for me is balancing the needs of the editor, the publisher, and my own artistic vision for the book. But the thing to remember is that we are all working on the same team to put out the best book possible, to tell the best story we can. And sometimes I'll put my foot down and fight for what I want, and other times I'll completely back pedal on my original idea because something that's been suggested is really that much better than anything I could have come up with.

Yes, sometimes it can be a fight. Or an incredibly intense creative discussion. Or a simple note on a page of manuscript mocking my original intentions. But working with an editor and a publisher is like working with a safety net. And I'm not sure why you'd ever want to work without one.

By way of an update this week, I was able to unveil an exclusive preview of Batgirl: Endgame #1 (which hits comic stands tomorrow) for Huffington Post. It's a good looking book and I can't wait to get an issue of it in my hands.

My latest for StarWars.com also came out. It's a piece examining the connection between Star Wars and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I love writing these pieces as they force me to dig deep into stories and story structure and helps me better understand what makes my stories tick.

There were also two huge bits of Star Wars news I was excited about. First, Rogue One has been announced as the first standalone movie in the universe. The name almost automatically implies X-Wings, and that makes me happier than you can imagine. Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston, authors I feel privileged to have been able to call 'friend,' wrote the definitive takes on X-Wing pilots and combat in the Legendary Star Wars universe. That we might be able to get a taste of them on the big screen, no matter how minor, is a thrill to me. Mike wrote about it on his blog and you should read about it there.

The other big Star Wars announcement I'm excited for is Star Wars: Aftermath. It was announced that this will be the first in a trilogy to help us bridge the gap between Episode VI and VII and Chuck Wendig is writing.

I can't wait to read it and, at some point, offer congratulations to Mr. Wendig.

It's going to be great.

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