Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story

The Never-Ending Revision Process


My part time day job is tutoring children in reading. I teach the mechanics and phonics of reading, along with comprehension. We encourage our students to bring in books to read for fun for the last ten minutes of each session. A few of my students requested to read the first Zelda book, and we read a chapter every couple of days.

As an author, I love that kids read and enjoy my books. With the Zelda books, I’m thrilled to receive an email that their son or daughter begged to keep reading Zelda each night before bed. But, when I read my own books again, I want to throw them out the window and start over.

Let me explain. Even when a book is “finished” or published, I find more sentences to change or chapters to revise. It’s a never-ending process for me. I haven’t read The Photograph since publication for that reason.

One of the benefits of being an independent author is the freedom to revise after publication. That’s what I am doing right now. I am revising the first Zelda book. I’m not changing content, but sentence structure and word choice. I wrote the first Zelda book a few years ago now, and since then, my writing has improved.

I don’t envision doing this for my other books, but it makes sense for the Zelda series. The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale is my best selling book. I travel to schools and events with this book, and with plans for a fourth and fifth book, the first needs to be strong so readers come back.

The revised version of The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale will be available in a week or two. I’ll post when it is available, so pick up a copy (it’s free in ebook form right now) and let me know what you think!

Authors – Do you want to revise after your novels are published? Why or why not?


3 thoughts on “The Never-Ending Revision Process

  1. I haven’t published a book yet, so I don’t know! But I do love revising – my first draft writing is terrible, I’m all about the rewriting.

    I read a book recently that was really helpful in terms of learning to let go of your work and moving onto the next thing: The Pursuit Of Perfection And How It Harms Writers by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It doesn’t sound like you need to change too much if you have readers begging to stay up later to read your books! Getting that kind of email must be pure magic

  2. Thanks, Eric. I haven’t had complaints about the first Zelda book, but my pug voice has developed over the past two years. I think a little revision will speed up the inevitable Zelda pug domination in the children’s book market. Hah!

  3. I usually hate whatever I’m writing by the time I’ve finished the third draft. I’ll always be that way I suppose.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of first drafts tossed into the self-pub market by cluelessly satisfied writers, and most of these works are screaming for a major edit if not a full rewrite. I’m sure your first Zelda book is head and shoulders above most everything out there.

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