I imagine some writers don’t have to revise their books much. Stephen King comes to mind. I just read a book of his with a time travel theme (11-22-63) that was over 800 pages. I can’t imagine revising all those pages. But for me, revision is an essential part of my writing process. And I enjoy it.
After I’ve completed a first draft of a book, and sometimes before, I go back and begin to revise. Especially the opening chapters. Those are the chapters that pull a reader in to the story, and incidentally are what an agent will read to decide whether s/he is interested. The fact is, I’m such a reviser that I keep changing things until the book is in print. And, if I could, I might change some things even after that.
I don’t do this process alone. For me, my critique groups (I belong to two) are essential to my writing. Sometimes I feel that my books are a group effort because I get such great help from the other members. I know everyone’s process is different, but I think most writers can benefit from the feedback. Of course, the author is the ultimate decider about her/his books. I don’t take all the suggestions, but most are helpful.
Most recently I’ve finished running my book, The Double Crossing, past my children’s writing group, a chapter at a time. I’ve revised and polished and am submitting it to agents. Wish me luck with that.
The Double Crossing is historical fiction about two Jewish teens, an impulsive girl who loves words and a thoughtful boy who watches birds. They meet and become friends aboard the St. Louis in its historic 1939 voyage to Cuba. They rescue a small bird, discover and thwart a Nazi spy plot, and are separated when sent to different countries after the ship full of refugees is forced to return to Europe on the verge of war.