Current Release

Current Release
Sold to the Viking Warrior

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Revisions Reprise

The following blog was first published in February 06. Kate Hardy contacted me yesterday to say that she had saved it and had passed it around to several of the Modern Heat writers. This was totally sweet of her. Anyway, as apparently they found it useful, I am republishing it here.
A quick note -- the ms I am talking about finishing became Sold and Seduced. During the revisions, the epilogue was cut. It was a nice epilogue but the story worked much better without it. The revisions for S&S other than cuttingthe epilogue and cutting a scene where Lydia acts out of character were light and I did them very quickly.
And I still love revisions and my editors' eyes. Quality editing is key to keeping a writer's books delivering on the promise the writer makes to the very special unique subset of readers -- hers.

Basically if I want their thoughts on my latest though, I have to finish it first. I still have several chapters to go -- including the last one.

Revisions and me
Kate Hardy recently asked what is the favourite part of writing for you. I put my hand up and said revisions. Not the usual response I know. Many writers hate revisions.I love other parts of writing. It is fun doing the first draft, but really it is only between you and the computer. You know that things will change and you are doing your best, but there are ALWAYS revisions. Some of these you will pick up, some the critque partners will pick up or have questions about. Questions are good. They force you to think why, and some the editor will spot. It is all about taking the rough lump of clay and moulding it.Doing revisions is not a sign of failure. Revisons help make a good book great.It is a sign that your editor believes in you and your book enough to give guidance on how to make it stronger. Revisions give you a chance to rethink and revisit your characters. At this point for me, my characters are old friends.They can also show up where you took a wrong turning, where you took an easy option.At their best, revisions challenge you. They give you the ability to take your book to the next level. Writers tend to like to stay in their comfort zones. A good editor inspires the writer.Sometimes, the longer and more detailed the revisons, the more the editor can see. I have heard of NYT best sellers that have had twenty five pages of closely written revisions. The editor believed in that book and wanted it to be the best book possible. Editors do not ask for revisions lightly. If they see too many problems, they will ask you to put the ms aside for awhile and write something new. Revisions mean they can see something worthwhile.Revisions are an opportunity rather than a road block.Revisions are a helping hand up, a way around stones in the road.When you are doing revisions, you know the characters and the basic situation. You also know one way it didn't work. Or in my cases, several ways it didn't work.Revisions force me to concentrate on what is the essential part of the book. How can I keep those things that I want to keep and still make those changes that the editor sees as essential? How can I learn from the revisions I am asked to do so that I make other mistakes next time?At the moment -- I keep hearing the lovely tones of my editor -- such and sch would never intentionally put the heroine in harm's way. It is something I have learnt and I have to make sure it is explained. One of the best pieces of advice an editor gave me was to make sure the turning points are active and come from the actions of the main characters. Hopefully through the process of revision, my own eye is developing and I am more able to step back and make the changes before the editor has her read through. But there are ALWAYS revisions. And sometimes there are more than one set.In the final analysis, it is about trusting the eye of your editor. And a good editor is worth her weight in gold. At the moment, I am very lucky with my editors. Their guidance has been clear, and has sparked ideas about how I can make the ms better.Now if I want to get to those revisions, those final tweaks, I have to finish the last chapter and epilogue...So in my humble opinion, revisions are not something to be feared or fought against, but are something to be embraced. They are about making the book the strongest it can possibly be.

3 comments:

Kate Hardy said...

It was definitely useful, Michelle. We were talking about revisions... and I said I hated them but your words had made it easier for me - and when they'd read them they agreed!

Biddy said...

Thank you!!! Just what I needed to hear... bless you :-)

Donna Alward said...

I totally agree...revisions are fun and educational and I love how I can see the book getting stronger before my eyes! The one thing about them? They make me constantly say, "Why didn't *I* see that?????" LOL

Can I borrow this, chicklet? I have a presentation to do on revisions soon and I think it would be a great way to start the hour.