Dramaquill's All Things Writing

April 7, 2010

Revising…rewriting…rethinking

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, my first adult suspense novel has been picked up by a publisher.  Exciting news to say the least.

It took about a month to get back my content edits after I submitted my polished, formatted final draft of the book.

I was happy to see that the line by line edits were far and few between.  Most of them involved changing a few words to a single word (tightening the prose) or clarifying a detail for consistency throughout the manuscript.  Revising these areas was neither time consuming or challenging.

I’m now working on the content edits, of which there are basically three:

1.      Heroine needs to take action much sooner in the manuscript.

2.     Hero (her husband) needs to be less passive throughout.

3.     The publisher recommends a different ending to tie everything together.

I completely agree that my heroine takes a long time to address the emergence of a past secret and have found a way to introduce this information in an earlier chapter.  By doing this, I can also find ways for her husband to become more actively involved in the plot, thus solving two content issues in one.  Rewriting these passages hasn’t proven to be too difficult a task and I’m excited at how much stronger they are making the overall manuscript.

Now we come to the issue of the ending.  Although I can see the book with the content editor’s suggested ending, I still feel very strongly about keeping my original ending.  And it’s this one aspect of revising that has me rethinking my entire manuscript.

With the deadline to have revisions completed fast approaching, I struggle to make my decision about the end.  But thanks to my critique group, some writing friends, and a pro/con list that I’m compiling for each ending, I am confident that I will reach a decision in the next couple of days.

Getting published is hard work.  No matter how polished and perfect you make your manuscript, the publisher has suggestions and recommendations that they feel will make your book sell more copies and it takes a lot of work to revise, rewrite and rethink your manuscript to meet with their approval.

But when you hold that first copy of your book in your hands, or see it lining the shelves of bookshelves and online bookstores, you’ll be glad you did your revising…rewriting…rethinking.

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January 6, 2009

FINAL REVISIONS – When is enough, enough?

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I submitted my final chapters of my adult suspense novel to my online critique group on Monday and am now waiting for the critiques to come in.  I’m excited about the entire process because it pushes me one step closer to my finished, polished, manuscript.

What I submitted to them was my fifth revision.  I truly believe that my manuscript has grown and my writer’s voice has become stronger with each re-write.  I’ve especially noticed a difference in my characters, implementing “showing” instead of “telling” and in my ability to write POV.

We’ve all read comments from agents and editors regarding bad writing.  If we truly want a shot at getting our book published, we know that we have to submit our very best work. 

But at some point, the time must come when we set down our critical eye and stop revising and re-writing and start querying.  I believe I’m now at that point.

I do believe that some amateur writers  sub out manuscripts that are not ready.  I can’t say enough how important it is to get feedback from others (and this doesn’t mean your friends and your family).  Join a critique group!

But I also know that it would be quite easy to continue to revise, re-write and tweak this manuscript forever and never consider it finished.

As writers, what we sub out should always be our best work.  But when is enough, enough?

When you’re positive this is your best work.  You’ve checked and double checked for typos, grammar, puctuation and proper formatting.  You’ve read and re-read the submission guidelines for your target agents and/or publishers.  You feel pumped about sending out this project that has consumed you for so long.

So I’m going out today to stock up on ink for my printer and packages of paper.  I will print out this final draft and begin the task of reading it backwards, to find any mistakes I may have missed.  I will give it to my critique partner for one last look.  I will begin drafting my query letter, which I will also sub to my critique group.

And finally, I will search through the agents and publishers I’ve been collecting throughout this entire project and begin with my first round of queries.

How are you doing with your revisions?  Do you know when enough is enough?

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