Thursday, April 9, 2015

Revise, Restructure, Re-submit: What Comes After Speedbo??

Ruthy here! So proud of youse guys, and I'll tell you why:

YOU TRIED.

Sometimes you fell short of what you thought you could do, but hey, NEWSFLASH!!!

We all do.  Big deal!

It's not fallin' off the horse that messes us up.... it's stayin' off that ends our equestrian careers. Same is true of writing. Write, write, write, even when you don't think you have anything to say because you might surprise yourself and at least you're staying in the habit!!! That's huge! Anything you can do repeatedly for a month becomes a habit... And other than praying, writing is the best habit I have!

So when I'm revising, I have one main thought: It's All About the Timing.



Is it the right time for humor? A badly placed joke or jibe annoys the reader because they don't want the hero to say that right then... they want empathy, maybe sympathy, maybe a good, old-fashioned rescue!!! Yee haw! So when you thread humor into a story, make sure you keep the humor... and the timing... in mind. Mary Connealy, Deb Clopton and Nora Roberts are three authors whose humor is seamlessly infused into the story. Copy them. (Don't tell them I said so!)


Should you add pathos? Well, if you're asking, the answer is "no" because you needed to lay the groundwork for that a chapter or two ago! Otherwise it sounds scripted. (I get that it is scripted, darlings, work with me here! We just don't want it to sound that way.) But maybe the pathos works here... If you take the time to go back and lay the groundwork in the preceding chapters.

Repeat after me:

It should never be too much work to create the best page possible.

(Ruthy pauses to listen, making sure everyone repeats. Satisfied, Ruthy moves on.)

I don't do excerpts anymore because in a poll a lot o' youse found them annoying, BUT... I'm showing you how I examine a freshly written scene to do the initial revisions. This is from an upcoming historical series for our upcoming novella collections, "The Pastor Takes a Wife".

        Hattie pointed from this to that and the other thing, spouting words like muslin, cotton, netting, hooks, eyes and lace.
   Macy got the lace part, the rest was a jumble until she saw the pile of various goods on the counter. “It takes all this to make a dress?” Too late, she realized her surprised tone and foolish words showed her ineptitude. She flinched, hoping the women didn’t catch it, and to her surprise, they didn’t seem to.

Here's the revised version:

        Hattie pointed this way and that, spouting words like muslin, cotton, netting, hooks, eyes and lace.
        Macy understood the lace reference. The rest was a jumble until she saw the stacked goods on the counter. "It takes all this to make a dress?" Too late, she realized she'd revealed her ineptitude. She flinched, hoping the women didn't catch her mistake, and to her relief, they didn't seem to.

I love stories of "fallen women" who are redeemed by the grace of God and the milk of human kindness. Historically (and even now in so much of the world) women are second-class citizens and treated casually by men. I love women who rise from the ashes, take the bull by the horns and get on with life. Macy Evers is one of the "Sewing Sisters" in the "Sewing Sisters Society" and Hattie McGillicuddy is one of those amazing people who reach out to help others move forward, one woman at a time. Nothin' like sacrificial love, right?

Here's another raw section:


          “Now, I’m going to tote these goods home with the two of you helping,” Hattie said as Ginny expertly cut the lengths of fabric in the proper size. “And Ginny, I’ll need three shirt lengths in white, three in blue, three in dark blue and a dozen quarter-inch white buttons.”
            “Threads, Hattie, or are you set on those?”

            “My land, I have more thread than any three seamstresses could possible need in a lifetime, but I don’t have the right shade of pink for Miss Chickie’s gown, so perhaps a spool of light pink would do well.”
And here's the first pass at tightening this!
        "The three of us will tote these things back to the shop," Hattie directed as Ginny cut fabrics to the proper size. "And Ginny, I'll need three shirt lengths in white, medium blue, and that nice serge you've got up top there, and two-dozen quarter-inch white buttons."
          "Threads, Hattie, or are you set on those?"
          "I have more thread than any three seamstresses could need in a lifetime, but I am without the right shade of pink for Miss Chickie's gown, so perhaps a spool of that would do as well."

You can see the method. Examine the sentences, cut extraneous words, remove redundancies, and move on. Now these are out of context, you're not seeing the whole picture, but even a glimpse like this gives you the idea of how to hunt out each sentence... and that's the first pass through.

When I get to 100 pages of a manuscript, I do my first hard-copy read-through. I print it out, read it, and this serves two-fold: It reacquaints me with eye color, hair color, colloquialisms, habits, threads I may have dropped.... and it gives me a much closer look at how the words flow across the written page. I slice and dice here too, making notes on each page to tell myself what needs to be altered, where I need foreshadowing, and where I need to plant seeds for upcoming events. Readers should never discover you have a dog in chapter 14....

Because if you have a dog and don't mention it for fourteen chapters, you've just insulted every single dog lover on the planet!

I love revisions and editing and I don't say that lightly. I can work on writing a couple of projects at the same time (as long as they are light years apart in style) but when I'm revising, I'm on THAT BOOK ONLY until the read-through is done. Polishing and primping works better if I'm totally focused.
And don't ask me why the spacing on this got totally jumbled. It happened after I changed the font on the excerpts, and won't change back.

OH..... BLOGGER!!!!!!!  You silly blog, you!

Come on inside and I'll answer questions or just chat. And if you want to post a short excerpt and see what we'd say about it, be brave and do it! Let's play school!!! Nothing like school in the spring, right?

I've brought Easter chocolate for everyone and fresh coffee to boot! Also, I'm tossing names into the dog dish (blast those cats, anyway!!!!) for five copies of my newest Kirkwood Lake book "Healing the Lawman's Heart", scheduled for release on May 19th!  I could literally just sit here and look at this cover, it's so stinkin' sweet... and the romance in this book, the two wounded hearts God brings together? Let no one even think of putting them asunder, dagnabbit, because they're the best thing that's happened to one another in years! I L-O-V-E this story, and that's all I've got to say about that!
An Officer and a Lady 
Single mom Julia Harrison is the last person Tanner Reddington should get involved with. He's promised to stay away from all things baby. But the state trooper's protective instincts outweigh his misgivings when he meets the lovely midwife. Julia is opening a women's clinic in Kirkwood Lake, while raising two small boys on her own. Plagued by memories of the family he lost, Tanner fights the pull he feels toward Julia and her kids. But when an orphaned newborn brings Tanner and Julia together, they begin to consider their future…as husband and wife.

Multi-published, best-selling author of nearly thirty books, Ruthy lives in a big, old farmhouse in Western New York, she loves God, her family, her country, dogs, coffee and chocolate. With a few decades of nametag and hairnet jobs behind her, she's done spot-on research for just about everything... and got paid to do it! Visit her at her website http://ruthloganherne.com or send her a friend request on facebook where she loves to chat, joke and pray with friends, family and her beloved readers!

98 comments:

Marianne Barkman said...

You are so right, RUTHY, the cover is stinkin' cute, and your post, clever. I'd love to have my name put in the dog dish, as long as that doesn't put me in the dog house. Thanks for the chocolate.

Lyndee H said...

Oh, Ruthy. SO happy to see someone else has issues with spacing, mismatched crazy font, etc. It's hard to believe I spend part of every day on the computer. I really have no idea what I'm doing half of the time.

I find it difficult to edit two projects at the same time. My characters start talking like they're part of a magazine article. Awkward!

The new book sounds (and looks) great! Congrats!

cathyann40 said...

This looks great. I'd love to win a copy.

Mary Preston said...

I love the humor in this post. Thank you.

Terri said...

The new cover is great looking and the book sounds even better. Thanks for the examples on how to tighten things up. Oh, and also for the reminder to keep plugging along.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Marianne, you're in! I'm so glad you love this cover.... Me, too!!!

Lyndee!!!!! I was pulling my hair out!!!!

It was ridiculous, the minute I changed the excerpts so make them stand out, everything below that went crazy. And no matter what I did, it REFUSED to look nice again! EEEEEEEK!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cathyann, I'm throwing your name into the dog dish (and Libby the Poodle is a-okay with us using her dish. She's a very understanding dog.)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Preston....I love your fairytale pic. It makes me smile every time I see it!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Terri, my friend.... that plugging along is where it's at, isn't it? We keep on, keepin' on.

For me, tightening is always the first step. Toss the extraneous words, limit the redundancies, say more with less...

And then when I edit, I can see what needs fine-tuning. So I do this "slice and dice" daily, to whatever I've written the day before.

It might not seem like a big deal, but it's a big step toward minimizing my work at the end... Because I've already done step one!

Dana R. Lynn said...

Whew. I feel a whole lot better. I thought I was the only one who couldn't revise and work on a fresh project at same time.

I didn't make my speedbo goals, but I do felt I strengthened my writing habits. Thanks Seekerville for hosting it!

Hey Ruthy, I would love to be put in for the drawing for your adorable book. It looks su-weet.

Barbara Scott said...

Ruthy, you just made my day and gave me a few laughs to boot. Mike set the alarm for 6 a.m. to go fishing so I'm up and at it. Type, type, type. Throw my name in the dog bowl, too, for that stinkin' cute cover. Love to read it. ;-)

Mary Hicks said...

It seems our computers do sometimes work against us!:-)

But where would we be without them? Horrors!!!!!

Loved your post, Ruthy! My name is 'Mary-keep-keeping-on Hicks. What other option do we have? :-)
I can't work on two projects at the same time either, well, I can, but I prefer working on one thing at a time.

Love your cover image!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Don't know there are dogs until chapter 14?!
Uh.

No.

;)

Ruthy - you're a treasure, even if you didn't bring chocolate?!

This is the perfect post today. I'm fur deep in revising from Speedbo and it's going turtle slow but making real progress.

What's different about this one is the setting, a place most people don't know much about. so I hope it's moving along as I saturate the pages with setting and introduce characters..

LOVE the idea of 100 pages or so (will have to revise the # as my entire mss is 32-34K for MG) but great idea.

And now, off to apply more of what I just learned. Thank you!!!

Can I just say I love all your covers? Be hard-pressed to choose a fave but this would be right up there...

OH - and I don't remember who it was who said, paraphrased - "Make every word on the page fight for its life." Especially true for MG folks. They want a lot of bang for the buck as it were.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Ruthy,
I'm so glad to see Julia's story finally told. She's been in limbo a long time and she deserves some happiness. A new guy and an orphan baby at the same time? A recipe for happy-ever-after for sure!

Such a sweet, heart-warming cover. Looking forward to the 19th when it comes out, or a win in the drawing would be great too. Either way Ms. Julia, Tanner and I have an appointment this month.








DebH said...

As always, Ruthy, a lovin' kick in the ol' keister to help keep us moving forward. And inspirational too!!!
Commiserating with you on Blogger text snafus. I'm still struggling with editing, but the posts here at Seekerville are definitely helping. It's giving myself permission to spend time writing that is the most difficult at present since chaos seems to be reigning in the home house (Guppy's term for where we live) right now. *heavy sigh*
I'm all in on ANY Ruthy book I can get, so please tuck my name into the doggie dish. Dogs are so much more accommodating. My friend has a sign in her house that says: "Dogs love unconditionally. Cats, on the other hand, want to see your resume."

DebH said...

p.s.
Your book cover really is stinkin' cute...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Dana, my Killer Voices buddy, you are in!

I don't know if we're the norm or not, but that's the one time I have trouble spinning multiple plates. I block out time and I find a quiet place (A TRICK AROUND HERE!) and I work from beginning to end... and then I comb it again, looking for what I showed here, those little mistakes, because a revision will leave some residual stuff behind! If I'm revising a scene on page 175 or cutting it entirely, that seed I planted on page 42 isn't needed... so that final edit is the lint roller on the brand new suit!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Barbara, thank you and I'm laughing! :)

Glad you're up early, BEST PART OF THE DAY! GO MORNING!!!

Yes, you're in and I love seeing you over here, seeing you writing again, your talent and grace are such a Godsend to so many! Go you!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Hicks, good morning! We'll keep on together!

I'm throwing your name in and thank you for loving that cover, too! I'm beyond delighted!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

KC, you're right. I love that saying about making every word fight for its life: YES!

Thank you for loving the cover... The Harlequin art team goes above and beyond and I love, love, love my family-friendly covers. This is my favorite kind of story to write, stories that bring healing and hope to the American family.

God with us!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

And KC and all... that hard copy edit at 100 pages (and then at 200 pages, I didn't make that clear) is a HUGE help to avoid big revisions. Now that doesn't mean an editor won't want some change, and that's fine!

But by printing and self-editing every 100 pages, that first "THE END" is a whole lot cleaner than it would have been otherwise!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tracey, you brought up a great point!!!

I held Julia's story back on purpose because she came into the series, a woman scorned, dumped by her husband, cheated on TWICE (so often the story) and there she was, a beautiful, professional woman (a midwife) whose self-image and trust in men has been severely damaged... She needed time, so when we talked about the series at Love Inspired, they were okay with me waiting to do her story to give her that fictional "time". I'm not big on people ending their marriage and instantly falling in love with someone, that mentality doesn't jive with my take on a happy ending because broken vows are serious business! I hope you love it, Tracey! I think you will, and that baby... oh my stars, I get tears in my eyes, thinking of that baby and a mother's love. (tearing up just talking about it!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, my friend, you are in and the dogs are most accommodating! I know you're working on revisions, and here's my tip to you:

Stay with it. I was gobsmacked by my first revision letter and I worried that I was stupid, foolish, that I should have SEEN all these things before I sent the book in! EEEEEK!

But I was wrong, often it's that new set of eyes that puts the polish on the silver. Once I learned that, I learned to just dig in and re-examine the story from multiple directions and that's given me such a leg up on facing revisions now.

Go for it.

Be tough, hang tough.

Connie Queen said...

Ruthy I agree w/you. LOVE THAT COVER!

Makes total sense it's not a good idea to have several projects going when you're re-reading and editing a story. Want to talk about confusing.

I haven't written enough books to have a system because so far it's been work on a story, change directions, switch back to the original story, and then switch to a totally new direction. I promised myself after I get through w/my present ms, I'll never do that again.

Tracey Hagwood said...

I agree with you Ruthy about marriage and the commitment it takes to the vows. However, as you stated, sometimes marriages do end and not always by mutual agreement either. That's why I think it's wonderful to have a story that shows a person can go through hard things in life and still find happiness the second time around. Everyone needs that hope, to believe their life's not over just because they may have gotten off to a rough start. I know so may women who need a God-redeeming story like this!

Jackie Smith said...

Ruthy, I so agree....that cover is so stinkin' sweet.....I can't wait to read the book!!! Thanks for your generous giveaways....count me in!

Sarah Claucherty said...

Ruthy, that cover is so sweet! I'd love to read it; will you pretty please put my name in the doggie dish! Any suggestions for critiquing someone else's writing during THEIR revision stage?

Wilani Wahl said...

Ruthy, This is so what I will be needing. I have a question. For my blurb to book provided i do make it to the second round. I am still writing it. Should I keep writing until the last minute and then revise the first three chapters. Or should I stop at the end of the 3rd chapter revise what I have written so far and then go back to writing. I am just starting to write the third chapter now.

When I heard about this contest, none of my books fit the criteria for LI. I have had this idea in the back of my head for some time. I actually wrote the blurb first and then started writing.

At the same time I am trying to finish the other book which is 110,000 words. I am finding I am mixing up the characters plus the one is written in 1st person and the other in 3rd person

Cindy Regnier said...

I'm still finishing the first draft before I move onto editing, but I am 62000 words instead of the 13000 I was before Speedbo - and still getting in my 1000 words per day so I should be there soon! Ruthy - you know I love Kirkwood Lake so please put my name in the dog??? dish. Yeah - my cat is way messier than my dog. Gotta love 'em both. Looking forward to editing soon!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Ruthy, I just love, Love, LOVE editing, so this post got my adrenalin pumping to do the same!

You said, "When I get to 100 pages of a manuscript, I do my first hard-copy read-through. I print it out, read it, and this serves two-fold: It reacquaints me with eye color, hair color, colloquialisms, habits, threads I may have dropped.... and it gives me a much closer look at how the words flow across the written page."

WOW, that makes a lot of sense rather than perfecting each scene as I go along. And the refresh is a nice bonus.

I'll have to give that a try!

Hugs,
Julie

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Ruthy, I can feel your frustration with the font changes. I tried to change once and deleted the whole post and I was nearly finished. I had to retype and reload photos all over again. grrrrrr.

So I understand. You were smart to just leave it. Ha ha

Great tips on revising. Always helpful.

Patricia Ullmann said...

I love reading anything you write Ruthy! Whether it be a FB post or a book, you have a wonderful talent for writing.

kaybee said...

Good morning Ruthy,
I love editing too, and revising. IF I know what's wrong, I can't rest till I get it fixed. It's when I don't know that it's a problem. But thanks to Seekerville and my crit partner, that doesn't happen as often or as long.
I would love to win and read another Kirkwood Lake story.
Kathy Bailey

Myra Johnson said...

Ruthy, you make a really good point about stopping to reread and edit every 100 pages. Writing only 1K-2K a day, it's easy to lose track of things like eye color, disappearing pets, etc. I used to do this more regularly and need to resume the habit.

CatMom said...

I LOVE A Ruthy-post!! No matter how tired or achey I might be, when I read a Ruthy-post I feel energized (if you ever bottle your energy and offer it for sale, put me down for a dozen bottles, LOL).

Your tips today are just what I needed (along with your COFFEE!). ;)

Oh my, I think I'd love to live in Kirkwood Lake (seriously). I'll just plan to purchase your book, because if my name is tossed in a DOG dish, I don't think my kitties will be happy about it! ;) That cover is SO sweet!!

Speaking of sweet, I'm setting out a warm Georgia Pecan Pie I just took from the oven---help yourself. :)

Hugs, Patti Jo

Kav said...

LOL -- I had a good laugh at the dog comment...yes we dog lovers can be quite sensitive about how you treat pooches in stories. I still fume over a poor wee doggie who was put out in the backyard at the beginning of a book never to be seen again. Was he eatenby wolves, dognapped, an escapee? Is he languishing out there still, shivering in the wet snow that insists on falling even though it's spring? LOL

And don't kill a dog...he can die of old age if he must but don't have him run over by a car or the victim of some sadistic stalker person.

Wait...this wasn't a post about dogs, was it? Sorry....I was just avoiding the whole revision/editing topic.

Kav said...

On topic now. I really struggle with this. Really. I'm revising my first chapter now and it's like pulling teeth (only more painful.) The thing I noticed about your examples is that while the structure has tightened, the overall length hasn't changed all that much. I don't know why that struck me so, maybe because I keep trying to whittle my words down to the bare bones but that isn't really the end goal, is it? Oh...profound light bulb moment.

Sally Shupe said...

This post is so timely. God does that! Great advice about editing. I like editing more. It's easier to edit what's already there lol. Please enter me for a copy of your book, Ruthy! It sounds so great, and I love that cover. That little baby looks so happy. I'm at peace looking at that cover. Thanks to Libby for letting us use her dish!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Connie, I agree with your idea to change up for the next one. There's something crazy frustrating about spinning our wheels! Natasha reminded me last week to keep the moral premise in the forefront of my mind when fashioning a story, and she's right...

Living in the past darkens our present, but grabbing hold of the future brightens our days.

With that in mind, I'm attacking my revisions with new-found GUSTO!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tracey, me too! And I'm going to "out" Angela today, and say the original idea for this story was when I stumbled onto Angela Ruth Strong's blog and read her story. I e-mailed her, said I wanted to someday do a story that honored her, and now... I have!

There's something so demeaning about giving your life and love to someone and having it trampled as if you're not good enough.

Intellectually we know that's not true! But tell that to the heart!

Here's a link to Angela's Blog:

Angela's Blog

Now Angela is happily remarried, and this guy loves her to pieces, and it's a happy ending, but oh, Geez Louise, what is it with people and cheating and sex?

Obviously I'm naive!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jackie, you're in and you're welcome!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sarah, you're in and the dogs are happy to see your name there! :)

Now, explain to me what you mean.

You're critiquing something and they're in the revision stage?

Because I'm not sure how that can go until the revision is done, unless you're doing like consecutive chapters like Sandra and I used to do .

Is that what you mean? Explain, darling, while I share a plate of CHOCOLATE WITH EVERYONE!!!!

Meghan Carver said...

Ruthy, I love your practice of hard-copy revisions at 100 pages. I'm trying that next time!

Your cover is adorable!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Wilani, the Blurb to Book is such a good and rare opportunity, that I'd work on that one only for the time being. I'd continue writing the book, and if you make it to round two, then go back and polish those three chapters!

I think we should have a contest to critique chapters for folks who make it to round two...

Wouldn't that be fun?

Tell me what youse think of that idea because Tina will KILL ME DEAD for just spoutin' that out there, but Tina's not here, is she????

(EVIL LAUGH, LOOKS AROUND... NO TINA!!!) :)

The success of our villagers is HUGE. So I'd focus on the new story, let the other one veg, and keep writing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

CINDY!!!! I'm so proud of you!!!!

SUHWEEEET!

I love editing. I love revising because guess what??? I don't always get it right on the first go-'round, so we go'round again!

And that teaches me to be more aware of my story arc the next time...

and then a few books later I forget again. EEEEEEEK!

:)

Cindy, you're in and Jeter wants you to know the Yankees won last night!!!

Jeter was very excited!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, I'm like you. I don't mind cutting scenes (I think I minded it more when I was newer, I think we get used to it as we gain experience. Note that I didn't say as we get older...) :)

That cutting, and re-structuring, and making the story shine is so important. It's what we've got to do in the World of Big Girl Panties and when editors tell me they've got folks who WON'T CHANGE ANYTHING, I just kind of laugh...

More contracts for me! :)

Publishing is constantly evolving, now more than ever, and my plans for my semi-retirement next year are to have so much fun writing that I'm probably going to annoy everyone.

HALLELUJAH CHORUS BEING SUNG!!!! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Meghan, that is such a huge help to me! If I've messed up anything, I catch it and avoid carrying the mistake through another 150 pages:

HUGE!!!!!

Tossing your sweet name in the cat, oops... DOG dish! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, Blogger won this round! In a landslide decision, LOL!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kaybee, I share that problem. Sometimes I'll know something isn't quite right, but I can't put my finger on it and my September release is like that...

I loved the story, but something wasn't meshing, and when the editor said... "Hey, what about this???" I realized she was right and rewrote the ending... and changed a bunch of the middle to fit.

She saw the problem right away and I was delighted to make the changes because oh my stars, I wanted that book to sparkle... And I believe it truly does now.

I love that second pair of eyes!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

WILL KILL FOR PECAN PIE. NOT KIDDING. NOT KIDDING A BIT!!!!

:)

I'm so stinkin' hungry right now. GRRRRRRRR.... (grabs chocolate, stuffs face....)

Calms slightly.... :)

Patti Jo, I love you right back! And I love your delicious virtual food offerings. They make my day!

Myra, I do that, too! I get out of the habit of something that I know is effective and OOPS! struggle... Why do we do that?

Here, have some chocolate, my friend. It's from Encore chocolates, a great little chocolate store down by Lake Ontario. Have I ever mentioned how much I love living by the Great Lakes????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kav, laughing about the dog, left to starve in the back yard for all eternity!

Poor doggie!

Okay, edits, much more serious. You noted that the changes didn't seem to change the length that much, and you're right, but this is where edits are like 1K/1day.

If I can take off ten words/page, that shortens my work by nearly 3000 words.

And usually that's painless re-wording!

Now revisions are different. Revisions are when we've taken a wrong turn and someone wants us to rewrite according to their will.

So if we're working in a factory, and they say "Switch to the gray belt" and we HATE THE GRAY BELT, do we keep putting out the dress with the black belt or follow directions?

We follow directions or lose a job, so that's how I look at revisions.

Do I love my job?

(nods head eagerly, like the puppy in the back yard, starving!!!!)

So then I do my job!!!

(nods head eagerly again!!!)

I pray before tackling revisions because sometimes our egos are involved.... sometimes tweaked, occasionally dented, and then once in a while MANGLED EGO ALERT!!!!!

But then I shut up and do them.

Because that's how I learned to strengthen my writing skills, by polishing, changing, and then polishing some more!

We can do this!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sally Shupe, Libby is HONORED (she said) to have us use that dish.

And Libby is a very honest dog! :)

I agree on how God does the whole timely fashion thing, even when we least expect it!

Oh, that God!

Tossing your name in!

Mary Connealy said...

Completely unrelated to writing I'll just say....the last time I rode a horse, about twenty years ago, I fell off. As I lay there on my back on the ground, with the horse's hooves prancing near my face, I thought, "That's it, I'm never getting on a horse again."

And I never have.

And I've lived a full live.

There are metaphysical horses I've gotten back on, but never a real one.

I did climb on a longhorn once though.

Which is sort of the same as a horse, except embarrassing and funny.

Heidi Robbins said...

It's amazing all the thought and work authors put into their stories! I love reading about the "behind the scenes" of writing :) Thanks for sharing!

Please include my name in the dog dish ;) Your new book looks fun!

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, though I reread the precious days work to get into the flow and also revise as I go, I so agree about the wisdom of reading the hard copy after the first 100 pages. That's a nice chunk to see the story and keep true to the details.

Great examples on cutting redundancy or unnecessary words.

You've had great covers!

Janet

Jan Drexler said...

I love that cover. Love it.

I'm right there with you on the 100 pages mark. Actually, it might be more than 100 pages...somewhere between 15K and 20K words, I feel a compelling need to go back and read through/revise/rewrite/restructure the first part of the book. This time, I added an entire chapter to the front of the story.

And I am a plotter. Shouldn't I see these things ahead of time?

But I finished that revising yesterday, and now it's time to start weaving in the secondary plot line...

I love this job :)

DebH said...

Wilani
I did Killer Voices last year and my thought is write your first three chaps - send them to a trusted friend to review while you keep writing. Once your friend returns with the crit - revise and hone those first three chaps. Then, when you get pegged to move on (faith talking here), you're that much closer to polishing those first three chapters to submit.
But whatever you do... DON'T STOP WRITING. Keep moving forward on the whole enchilada. Save the other story for after the last Book2Blurb deadline.

just sayin...

Valri said...

I LOVE, LOVE the cover, Ruthy! Definitely put my name in the dog dish for a copy! I love copies that not only have the hero and heroine but KIDS! A win-win as far as I'm concerned! I bet the story is fantastic and I can't wait to read it! AWESOME!!!!!

Becky Dempsey said...

Great points on revising and restructuring things. I need all of these tips! I'd love to win a book :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, LOL!

You can stay off the horse, honey. Just don't jump off the writing train!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Heidi, you're in the dog dish!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, I am so blessed by my covers, but it's rare to see a less than great cover from our art team, isn't it?

Melissa and I laugh about the cabbage cover because that just went wrong seven ways to Sunday, and then there was no fixing it, but it's such a good book, NO ONE NOTICED.

Hardly.

But this cover is SO STINKIN' PERFECT! And our Julia finally gets the happiness she's deserved right along.

Cheating spouses are a tough kick in the head, that's for certain!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan Drexler, I love it too! We can grow old loving it together!

And for whatever reason, that 20K or 100 page thing seems to help. And I'm for anything that helps keep me from making too many stupid mistakes!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

DEB H!!! GREAT ADVICE! WILANI, LISTEN TO A TRIED AND TRUE CONTESTANT!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

VALRI!!!

Aw, I'm with you, I love stories that knit families back together. When you look out west, that was the norm because of death/widowhood. Now, it can be death or divorce, but I love that chance to make things right... in the right way!

Does that make any sense at all???

Wilani Wahl said...

Thank you Ruthy and DebH.

I am excited and nervous all at the same time.

Sherida Stewart said...

Good afternoon. I'm hoping some Easter chocolate is left! What a CUTE cover! I love seeing kiddos on covers. Please enter me in the dish for your new book.

Ruthy, thank you for your revising plan. I'm just starting the process with my Speedbo project, so will use this information. I'm excited to begin this phase of writing. Editing/revising....here I come! Fun! Really! Glad to know others like this part of getting a story polished.

Tina Radcliffe said...

#don't stop writing. Best advice EVAH!!!

Vince said...

"What comes after Speedbo?"

April showers
May flowers
June brides
July fireworks
August heat
September schooldays
October baseball
November NaNo
December denouement.


****

9 April 2015
D day minus 9.5 Hours!
"With this Kiss"
Contemporary & Historical
Releases tomorrow!

Jeanne T said...

It's been a crazy-busy day in my corner of the planet today. Ruth, I loved this post. Your suggestions are so helpful. I always love reading how different authors do revisions. I LOVE the idea of printing after 100 pages, just to make sure everything's on track. I'm definitely going to try that.

And I DO love your cover!!! I'd love to be in the drawing. :)

And, I love where your story came from! Thanks for sharing Andrea's blog. I'm hoping to stop by later today.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Ruthy,

I work as a writing tutor, and my clients bring their works-in-progress to discuss and revise based on the feedback I can offer. Some come partway through the initial writing, others a complete draft, it all depends on their needs.

I also work as a journal article editor, providing feedback as writers complete and revise their pieces.

So it's somewhat unusual, in that they don't always have a draft completely finished before they revise. Sometimes they just want another set of eyes on their writing to make sure it works, etc.

Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Ruthy! And I loved your examples. Sounds like a fantastic, touching series!

Missy Tippens said...

Yay, Vince!! You've kept up well! :) We're so excited about the release!

Missy Tippens said...

BTW, I'm still laughing at the dog in chapter 14. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Great blog, Ruthy, as always!

Blogger gave me problems today too...thus the reason I'm late leaving a comment.

Didn't know about the survey on excerpts. Interesting. I enjoy seeing them. Certainly enjoyed the paragraphs you provided.

Ruthy stories are always great!

Has it stopped snowing in NY yet? :)

Sandy Smith said...

Ruthy, thanks for a great post on revising. I will make good use of them.

Please put my name in the dog dish. Would love to read the book.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sherida, I'm praying for you, 100%! And your name is in the dish, although the dogs are getting H-U-N-G-R-Y!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

VINCE!!!! I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THESE COLLECTIONS! WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!!!!

BIG GRIN AT RUTHY'S HOUSE!

I hope you guys love them. That's what makes it all worthwhile, is if you guys all love 'em....

Ruth Logan Herne said...

You know, Jeanne, ideas come in the strangest ways. And I try to be open to whenever I get that Holy Spirit nudge. I find if I try to force a book, it's harder to find the heart... but if I let it evolve from these sweet ideas/gifts, it's so much easier.

Which could just mean I'm CRAZY. :) But I'm having crazy fun, so that's okay!!!

You're in!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sarah, now I understand! And you're right, that's a little different, but I think you're in the delightful spot of being able to point people in the right direction, like Sandra and I used to do.

Because it's not finished, your guidance provides a time-saving gift by being able to discern if the motion of the work is going in the right direction. That's awesome! I had no idea that's what you did, I'm so impressed!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Debby, it snowed last night, and today it's 60 and rainy... so spring is coming!!!!

Thank you for your always kind words!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandy Smith your name is in the dish!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow and just think, all those Speedbo manuscripts on your puter are what you pull out when an editor or agents says..what else do you have!!!

You can thank Seekerville then.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Great post as always, Ruthy. I don't love revising, but I'm learning to like it a little bit so that's progress. Right? ;)

Love the new book. You always have the cutest covers!

Donna said...

Ruth, thank you for the wonderful editing advice!

I love the 100 page tip.

Please enter me. : )

Donna said...

Ruth, thank you for the wonderful editing advice!

I love the 100 page tip.

Please enter me. : )

Tanya Agler said...

Ruthy, Thank you for this post (I still have your ten tips on my desk and so often when I whine, I look at it and see-STOP WHINING!).

I think editing is the Rodney Dangerfield of writing-it often gets no respect-so I'm so glad to see so many tips from Seekerville this month on editing. I like the 100 page one-my hint to people who write contemporary-pay attention to cars, too.

One question from the comments to Mary-riding a longhorn?! I think that's worth a future post. Or two.

Thanks for all the info, especially to a writer who always either has dogs or kids in her books.

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

Ruth I just loved your editing advice and I LOVE (no joke) excerpts, because they really help illustrate things for my scattered mine. Your's are fun to read too!

You have made editing sound a little less frightening but definitely necessary. Thank you for sharing the joy!

Please also drop my name into the dog dish...I love dogs. :)

Walt Mussell said...

I always love a good Ruthy post. However, as I'm really tired nad have nothing poignant to say, please pull me from the daily drawing. :-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

WALT!!!! You're so funny! I'm putting you in anyway, but I'm laughing at you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kelly, you're in, darling! And thank you for your kind words. Did I pay you to say that???? (scans checkbook....)

I see that I did not. I should have, but free is even better!!!! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tanya, Love Inspired loves dogs and kids in their books, and the reason why is because they sell!!! :)

Folks love that Main Street feel, the days of Mayberry... and in many small towns across the U.S. you can still imagine Aunt Bea settin' a pie on the window sill to cool.

I loved Aunt Bea. And now I want pie!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rhonda Starnes, I love my covers! I love me some babies, and you're welcome!!!! Name gets added to the dish!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Donna, the 100 page tip is popular today!

Who knew???? :)

Jackie said...

It should never be too much work to create the best page possible.

Great post, Ruthy! By reading through your story every 100 pages, you do a little big picture revising...is that right?

Your new book sounds great! Sorry I'm a day late getting here. Have a great day!

Jamie Adams said...

Love the cover of your new book!

Sarah Claucherty said...

Ruthy,

Thank you so much for your sweet words!

Deanne said...

It is so true , anything we do for a month definately becomes a habit. We need to make sure whatever we do becomes a good habit and not a bad. The book cover is o cute and I'd love to be in the drawing for it. Thank you