Lost in Translation

Maggie Stiefvater teaches an excellent workshop for writers in which she describes writing as “an act of translation.”

In other words, we are translating the “perfect book” that is in our head onto the page. No translation is perfect; it’s impossible to capture all the nuances of a language when you translate it into another—and it’s just as impossible to capture all the nuances of your story.

However, as authors, we can revise our books until we get them as close to that “perfect book in our heads” as possible.

Rarely does a book come out even close to perfect on the first try. And for some of us (🙋‍♀️ me!) it can take many, many revisions before we reach the “almost perfect state” that we’re aiming for.

Of course, you can’t know what to aim for if you don’t have a clear target. This is why I always—always, always, even now many years into this whole publishing career—come up with a vision for my perfect book.