Friday, September 24, 2010

Return of the Revision Queen!


I’ve wrapped up my final round of editing and completed revisions on my second (or is it my third?) round of rewrites for this ms. I’m pretty happy with the way things have turned out and yes, it is a very different manuscript now then it started off as two years ago! I’ve made a lot of changes, all for the better, under the direction of my wonderfully insightful agent.

I thought I would devote this week’s post to my revision process since I’ve found myself searching the web a few times over the past little while looking to commiserate with other writers and their experiences with this process. I wanted to add mine to the story pool.

When I started working on the first round of revisions for my agent, it was a huge undertaking. She suggested in a phone conversation that I change it from third to first person, actually her words were, “How would you feel about changing it from third to first?” To which I replied, “I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack!”

But I did it and she was right, of course. It took me about five weeks to make all the changes...I’m a fast worker...too fast sometimes (but that’s a topic for another post). Thank God for my agent and her keen eyes!

After I sent her the new version I sat back and waited, hoping for the best but knowing deep down that it wasn’t quite my best...So I wasn’t at all surprised when we sat down for our next meeting and my agent had my manuscript in front of her with lots and lots of ink marks all over it.

On the most recent round of revisions we cut almost 15K, which was not as painful as you would imagine. After getting rid of the crap, I started to rebuild. Of course, I fell right back into my usual work frenzy and completed the bulk of the rewrite in about a week and a half and then I let it sit for a few days. But the itch to edit was burning me and my impatience took over, so I started, did a very quick (3 day) edit and thought I would leave it for a week or so before looking at it again.

Which I did, kind of. I made it for about four days before opening the file again and starting round 2 edits.

This time though I slowed things down and took a whole week to work through the ms. I decided that I wouldn’t leave a chapter until I was completely satisfied with what I’d produced. I believe that was the best tactic I’ve used so far, I caught a lot of errors and trusted my gut when something was snagging my attention in the wrong way. When I hit save for the last time I was satisfied with what I’d produced. I truly feel that I’ve created a much stronger story and my characters are fully fleshed out. I’m very happy with it overall.

So I sent it off to my agent with fingers crossed that she’ll love it and we can get out on submission. Time will tell but this time hoping for the best comes with the confidence that I did my best work.

What about you all? Anyone out there working on revisions? Any tales you want to share with us?


  1. Wow! Angela, that's a lot of work. First writing, then three sets of revisions, but at least you feel satisfied. That's the main thing. Hopefully your agent will love it this time around! Crossing my fingers for you. I'm working on rewrites on some shorts, and still wading through several novels on the go. It's always a time consuming job. Getting everything right, making sure you've done your research, cutting out redundant phrases and words, chopping, cutting and streamlining until you're satisfied. I share your pain :) I hope this is a good sign for you since you feel so good about your finished product. Best wishes for a postive response this time. :)

  2. Oh yes. We've already exchanged the bulk of our revisions. But, like you, it's also exhilarating. I loved the way my MS took on new light. It's so much better.

    Of course, I'm with you now - biting my fingernails and hoping the agent loves it.

  3. I'm in the middle of a monster rewrite based on the advice of my wonderful beta readers. I going line by line, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter. It's slow, but it's amazing. I'm chopping & rebuilding & adding to my characters lives and backstories. And you're right, the cutting isn't as painful as I thought it would be. Good luck Angela! Let us know how it goes. :)