Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Revise and Re-Submit: A Gift You Can Take to the Bank!


We now return you to our regularly scheduled program! :) 


“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” — Mark Twain

I spewed the first time I read this because it's so stinkin' true

Hi, my name's Ruthy and I am learning to revise. Yes, I'm like 30 books in, and I'm still learning to hone my craft. 

Newsflash: I consider that a SMART THING because you know what happens when we start resting on our laurels? We're likely to get thorns in the bootie. So here's what I know:

Re-writes and revisions are not the enemy. Once you get over the bitter disappointment of fallibility and realize that while Harper Lee wrote one literary masterpiece, it took her 2 1/2 YEARS to re-write the book in publishable form. And that was after having a full year off (funded by friends) to write the original!

I know writers who fuss and fume if asked to reconstruct or readjust time lines... (looks guiltily away from camera) but in the end, the book is better!

In order to effectively revise your manuscript, you need to separate two things:

1. Your emotional ties to the best story ever created...

(Wincing, here, because really?????  REALLY???????? Get over it and move on, we're grown-ups, aren't we?)

2. And your original version that is now engraved in your brain.

The first is fairly easy. If you need help, e-mail me and I'll give you the kick in the pants you need and (Bonus!!!!) I'll tell you to get on with it and stop acting like a big ol' baby. (I tell myself this very same stuff, so we're in this together!)

(This is Joe Williams, our Tlingit Indian guide in Ketchikan, Alaska who gave me lots of details about the town, the history and the setting, including a possible idea for a historical/contemporary pair of books!)

The second is what we're talkin' 'bout today. How to take a book that's concrete in your brain, and reconstruct it:

1. Make a plan. What are you keeping of the original book? What will you delete? If the suspense thread isn't working, did an editor make suggestions? If the romance is dragging, how can you pick up the pacing? Did the editor offer advice about how to fix your sagging middle?

How can you implement these? I usually give myself a day or two to work my head around these suggestions, to re-visualize (I'm a visual writer, I see scenes, and then I write them) and then see how things can be connected. It's clutch for me to go into the revision/rewrite with a plan. If I don't, I make more work for myself. Note to everyone: I DON'T NEED MORE WORK. (Thank you, just wanted to get that off my chest!)

2. Determine which major threads are being tossed, if any. If none, this will be easier, but then that would be more like an edit, not a revision. And for a revision to work, you start at the beginning, examining every sentence and word for anything that will throw your new baby off-track. References and implications from the original story might not flow with the revised edition. So I look at the opening... If the opening works, BONUS! SWEET! PARTY!!!

Because then you can feel like you've accomplished something by doing pretty much nothing! But if it doesn't, then rewriting the beginning is the Most Fun Ever. I love writing openings, and by doing that, you've started the revision process mentally, physically and emotionally. By the time you are done writing the new opening, you've re-invested yourself in the story! It's amazing how an author's brain works.

Did the editor/contest judge/agent make a suggestion? Well, dust off your ego and try it, for pity's sake.

 You've got nothing to lose and writing is a practiced art. If you're targeting a particular editor/line/publisher, listen to what they say. Read what they've published recently. And if this is from a contest or a submission, etc., and you've been asked to revise and re-submit, please note that this is better than an invitation to the Queen's Ball. 

Editors are crazy busy. If they didn't like it, they'd have sent a "not for us at this time" form rejection. An R&R is a Huge Invite to the Royal Wedding. It's not given out lightly and should never be ignored. By ignoring it, you're sending a silent message that you're unwilling to change and adjust per request (AARRGGGHHHH... this is a bad message to send, my pretties!) or that you don't have the time to take suggestions and put them to work...( ouch, again, because it takes time to forge a new career or polish an old one!) or that you don't like being bossed around, and your work is good enough, as is.

That silence can be deafening and editors are smart, savvy people. 

"If it sounds like writing, I re-write it." Elmore Leonard

3. Start inserting your new plotlines into the story. This always seems tricky at first, because it can be tedious... but then you might get to a whole chapter that needs nothing, and you fist-pump the air!

Work chapter by chapter to catch old threads and delete them... and to create new in their place. Don't worry about perfection here, worry about re-designing your story. We clean this up in the final read-through, picture darning socks, or better yet, cleaning the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Rewriting a book is easy by comparison!!!

Do not be afraid to delete. I keep an open word document for deleted scenes, just in case I decide to use them again. I rarely do because they were written for a different book... but I find that I'm a little less nervous if I hold them in a spare file while I work! (kind of like a kid and her blankie... We're so needy!)

4. Work steadily. If you take long breaks, you lose the mental "new" thread. Force yourself (discipline!!!!) to go through the book, chapter by chapter and insert the changes. I often use a mini-reward system to get me through this. Gardening time in summer... baking time in winter... a handful of M&M's .... a chance to watch Castle... Mini-rewards are my way of logging progress.

5. Once done, you want to now go back and re-read everything. I usually give myself a day or two off here, to work on something else and clear my brain. Then I come back fresh. The longer you take to revise a book or a proposal, the harder it is.


Letting half of a fixed story vegetate allows us to let the original story infiltrate our defenses! :) It makes the whole process lengthier and more difficult than it needs to be. If you grab hold with a plan and push through, your chances of a successful and less painful revision are much higher... and you will be nicer to your family and have less gas.

(I'm not sure about that last claim, but an un-nervous tummy should produce less gas. I'm just sayin'...)

(Commercial Interruption, more Alaska pictures!) 

Dave and his new BFF
Mendenhall Glacier, the one we could get closest too, but there are monster glaciers in mountain valleys all over. A-stinkin'-mazing!
I've had some books accepted with no revisions. I've done complete re-writes on others. The world hasn't ended in either case, so it's all good! We learn as we go, and I hope you jump into revisions with both feet from now on. Get 'er done! :)

I've just come back from an Alaskan cruise, a gift to us from our kids (Yes, Show Your Children This Line and Make Them Feel Guilty) so I'm bringing Alaskan-inspired goodies to the table. And new story ideas! 

We took an excursion into the Klondike up a fun and VERY SCARY TRAIN. I loved it!!!! :)
We've got a full breakfast menu, including grilled salmon and veggies, scrambled eggs, sourdough toast, pancakes and maple syrup I brought from the sugar maple groves of New York! 

Come on inside, leave a comment and I'll toss your name into the cat dish for one of several copies of "Healing the Lawman's Heart", a story of love and loss, faith and hope.

With cute kids, a tough heroine and a wonderful state trooper hero who just wins your heart... 

This book is on sale NOW!!!! It was released yesterday, e-versions go on sale June 1, 2015... So if you don't win it, of course I want you to go buy it! You sillies! :)

When she isn't touring Alaska and central Washington, Ruthy Logan Herne is living her dream of writing sweet stories for traditional publishers and the indie market. She loves God, her family, coffee, chocolate and dogs, she thinks romance rocks. She's been married for a very long time, she lives on a farm in upstate New York, has a lot of kids and grandkids and thinks her crazy busy lifestyle suits her. She's thrilled to be paid for making up stories and regularly pinches herself to see if she's dreaming! Find her on the web at Ruthy's Website or on facebook as ... um... Ruth Logan Herne. (laughing!) And yes, send her a friend request, she'd love to get to know you, chat with you, pray with you and be your friend!


Mary Curry said...

Welcome home from Alaska, Ruthy. We missed you.

Seriously, an Alaskan cruise is the only kind of cruise that has ever appealed to me. Not likely I'll ever take it (hubby gets seasick), but a gal can daydream.

My thoughts on revisions - it's easier to accept them on some books than others and they get easier to accept with time. I think if anyone had told me to revise my first precious baby, I might have had apoplexy. But by the time I finished my own umpteenth version of it, I was less attached to the plot so long as my dear sweet characters got to stay mine.

Mary Preston said...

Such a great Mark Twain quote.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Curry, it's good to be home! And that cruise was the same for me. Amazing and wonderful and the only kind I wanted to do... and it was beyond words.

I think those first revision letters are the toughest! And then we realize we live... we move on... and get paid!

I've learned so much from the revision process. I know it's improved my overall vision for a story and how to reach the "end-game" with a solid arc.

And I keep reminding myself that no one ever said this would be easy!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Preston, I love that quote! It taught me so much and I keep it in mind when I'm editing because I'm a word sprinkler... so when I edit, I try to remove every unnecessary, unneeded, redundant, extraneous word (see how many useless words I used there!!!!!) except when I'm doing it in kid-voice or excited, older women because the extra words work for both! (shh... don't tell any older women I said that!)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Love those Alaska pictures. More, more, more please~!

Heidi Robbins said...

It's always fun to read your posts Ruthie since it's so easy to hear your "voice"- you're hilarious :) Great quote by Mark Twain! Looking forward to seeing inspiration from your Alaskan cruise in your future stories... :)

Please put my name in the hat for your new book!

Tina Radcliffe said...

There is nothing more satisfying than taking edited bits of manuscript from a SALVAGE file and repurposing them in a new book.

Save those outtake scenes. Cut, cut, cut. But save them.

Jackie said...

First, congratulations to you, Missy and Tina for having your books out at the same time. How fun!

Second welcome home! Looks like you had a great trip.

And third, that Mark Twain. “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” — Mark Twain - It's just hard to beat some of his quotes.

Thanks for sharing, Ruthy!

Jessica Nelson said...

Triple Seekers!!! lol

Great post. I'm revising and yikes, it hurts! It's been a while since I had to delete whole chunks but I keep telling myself that it will make the story stronger. *crosses fingers*

Cara Lynn James said...

Ruthy, great advice for revisions. I don't mind revising as long as I have enough time to do them.

Your Alaska pictures are wonderful. What a trip!

DebH said...

Hi Ruthy
Thanks for your kick in the pants posts. I need them.

How long is too long (in an editor's eyes) to take on an R&R? That's my current worry. This past year has thrown me some curve balls that, so far, I've weakly fouled off. Still up to bat and swinging, but so far, I'm still out. *sigh*

My revisions are major and all the editor's points are spot on. I'm just hoping I can get them done with some semblance of intelligence. The posts here at Seekerville go a long way to helping me there. I'm just worried the editors will think I'm a lazy bum because I've taken so long...

Still - inspiring post Ruthy. Thank you!!!!!!!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Welcome home Ruthy!

Congrats to you, Tina and Missy on the triple release!

It's so much fun to catch a glimpse of your cruise and Dave's new bff, lol. But you know all your friends here want to see more :)

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, loved seeing your Alaska cruise photos! Thanks for sharing!

And for the awesome tips for revising. I always save what I delete from my stories just in case I'll want them, but rarely do. Kind of like all those tablecloths and napkins crammed into drawers.

Great quotes and an even better breakfast!


DebH said...

as for your kid gifted cruise, you've got smart kids. me and my half-sibs did the same for my birth dad and his wife for their 40th wedding anniversary - except it was a Hawaiian trip. (it helped that there were ten of us to pitch in)

so glad you had such a great time and trip.

Janet Dean said...

So exciting to see Missy, Tina and Ruthy books on the shelves! Time to hit the stores.


Wilani Wahl said...

Ruthy, Thanks for this post. I now that I will need it when the time comes.

I finished Healing the Lawman's Heart. It was so awesome. Hoping to post reviews sometime today.

Have a great day!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina, the pictures don't do the majesty justice, but they're amazing.

To be standing in the street and these huge mountains are rising up all around you and the glaciers and the bald eagles feeding like robins in upstate... AMAZING.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Heidi!!!! Laughing!!!!

You know me well, I found a contact in an Alaskan port and I'd booked a Tlingit Indian tour guide to take us around the town (with a bunch of others, so fun!) and I've got a trilogy I'm setting up. It's the perfect setting for sacrifice, roots and wings! And my contact there is delightful and whacky, so it works! Dave and I overheard her talking in the morning when we were scoping out shops and souvenirs, and I knew if I picked that town, she was my go-to lady... AND SHE SAID YES! :)

I'm always glad when these people don't think I'm crazy! Or maybe they realize I am crazy and they don't care because they're just as whacked!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina, that is an excellent point. I've taken those snips that I loved and created whole new stories... and novellas!.... from them!

If it's good, it could be cash in the bank!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jackie, so true, right???? I went to see the one-man Mark Twain show years ago... Was it Hal Holbrook that did it?

I don't remember, but it was a one-man show on Twain and he was SO FUNNY. The dry, almost caustic humor that I relate to far too much! :)

And that is a truism. Save the editor work and imagine the "damn", LOL!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica Nelson!!!! I love that picture more than life itself! Have I missed that? Is it new??? LOVE!!!!!

And I'm all over the triple-Seeker-sighting! What an honor!

I was shell-shocked with my first revision letter.... Well, followed that one up with a complete REWRITE! LOL, I had to learn the rules of engagement, and that made it better.

I learned from each one and honestly, I'm okay to say I'm still learning!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cara, that's an occasional bugaboo... sometimes it's a two-week turnaround and I have to jump in, both feet... But you know, then I can't procrastinate! I have to chug away and sometimes that works better!

The trip was beyond words and I can't wait to start that Alaskan series!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, they won't think that at all! They know new writers are often full-time workers, so you dive in with a plan and re-write... and then you go through it again with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you addressed each concern...

Now sometimes when I've changed 2/3 of the book, I realize that I don't need to change a few key parts because I prepped better for them, and then I tell them why I left those parts and why they seem to work now.

And that's worked out okay because the rewrite made the book stronger, better and more reader-friendly.

I did suggest that they pack a CD with my thoughts stated for the reader's enjoyment and enlightenment and Melissa said "NO." Sigh.

She wants the stuff actually In The Book! Who knew???

Jeanne T said...

Ruthy, I LOVE your optimism throughout this post. I'm in the throes of revisions. I did take a long time to get started as I worked on a couple possible threads and creating a subplot. Never done that after I've already written the first draft. Once I had the story figured out, it was easier to write it. I'm enjoying working on revisions for this book. But it takes awhile when I've only got a couple hours a day to work.

And for the record, my mind has been substituting D*** in my thoughts for Very this morning. Thanks for the suggestion . . . I think. :) And yes, I know you meant for writing. I can see how this technique is effective. :)

And, congratulations to the three of you Seeker ladies for having books on the shelf together! So fun!

Laura Pol said...

New writer here! Just want to say thanks for your words and having a plan with revision. I'm a person who thrives on plans so this is good news for me! :)

Julie Lessman said...

YAY!!!! A Ruthy post ... life is as it should be, my friend, so WELCOME BACK!!

One of the things I admire about you most is you can take any garbage (I'm talking situations, not your books) and turn it into compost, reaping a harvest of lessons and blessings.

I actually ADORE the revision process because 1.) I love rereading the book in its entirety and 2.) It's such a challenge to tick each change off and find a solution.

Great post, Ruthy -- LOVE the Mark Twain quote and fun pic of Dave -- but are you implying he can be a bear?


Mary Hicks said...

Ruthy, loved the photos! :-)

Thank you for encouraging the unpublished and the published as well to continue learning and doing whatever it takes to publish a better book.

It's no wonder you've enjoyed the success you so richly deserve. :-)

Connie Queen said...

Perfect timing on this post.

I didn't progress in the Blurb2Book contest and the editor's feedback made perfect sense. To make it work I must pretty much change my heroine's whole personality, which is what I loved best about the story. I want to hang on.
I said I want to hang on.

My husband and I talked about it. Which is more important? Publishing the book or hanging on to my quirky heroine.

Publishing the book. (And making the changes doesn't guarantee that.)

I'm in the process of building excitement over my "new" heroine and all she can bring to my story.

Connie Queen said...

And that was so sweet of your kids. I'd love to go to Alaska.

Missed you on 1k1hr.

Jackie Smith said...

What sweet kids you have! Loved seeing the pics of your trip and looking forward to your trilogy.
YAY I have Missy and Tina's books and am sooo looking forward to getting in cat dish please!!

DebH said...

thanks Ruthy
this makes me feel a little better. plugging on...

oh, name in cat dish please. I'm never one to pass up an opportunity to win a Ruthy book.

Mz.ZeyZey said...

Ruthy, this is perfect timing as I have some revision to do based on my feedback from Stage 2 of Blurb to Book. I made it through to Stage 3, but I have to take out a thread the editors would prefer I didn't use. It has all sorts of implications for further on in the story. Once my critique partners pointed out some simple ways to fix it (and also that since I wasn't done with the book I could much more easily change directions), I came off the ledge and saw the possibilities it opened up.

Some of the revision letters I've seen are enough to make you wonder what they saw in the first manuscript in the first place. It seems like they say, this is good but we really want you to CHANGE ALL THE THINGS. It looks downright daunting. But your post breaks it down into manageable steps.

Your current release is probably somewhere in my mail system winging its way to me, and I have the other two seekers' books (Missy's was fabulous and I'm reading Tina's now!). So lovely to see you all together this time.

Marianne Barkman said...

Congratulations, TINA, RUTHY AND MISSY. Please get on those revisions...I need novels to read! Hahaha. Love anything Alaskan. I may live only an hour from mile 0 on the Alaskan Highway, but I've never been to Alaska!

Mary Curry said...

Ms. ZeyZey, that's one of the things that is so amazing about these contests. How incredibly awesome is it to get that kind of feedback before you spend the time to write the whole book with something they find problematic.

Best wishes to you. I KNOW you can rock this.

Kathryn Barker said...

Hi Ruthy,

Loved your photos...and your encouraging kick-in-the pants post!

I chose to revise my WIP because the original story just wasn't working for me. Don't know if this new thread will produce better results, but it's more fun, 'cause now there's a baby. And who doesn't love a baby in a story? LOL

Is the cat's dish full? Room for one for name? Please enter mine...would love to win one of your books!!

Pam Hillman said...

"If you grab hold with a plan and push through, your chances of a successful and less painful revision are much higher."


Pam Hillman said...

Loving the cruise pics! Looks like y'all had a blast. I will go... someday! :)

Myra Johnson said...

Great encouragement, Ruthy! I'm racking my brain to rework a proposal for my editor, and it's not easy to leave behind the plot threads and character details I'd grown so attached to. But in the end I know it will be for the best.

kaybee said...

RUTHY, it is always good to hear from you.
I would rather get a revise-and-resubmit letter than a form letter or worse, nothing. I do fine with revisions when I have a direction to go in, i.e. from my crit partner or a judge. (Contest, not legal.) If I know what needs fixing, I can fix it. When I was in a physical monthly crit group, I would stop for coffee on the way home and take the red pencil to the MS, incorporating all the changes my friends suggested. Now that I'm a virtual crit partner, I try to address my CP's concerns as soon as possible.
Please put my name in the dish for the book. Love the Campbells and their assorted hangers-on. This wouldn't happen to be the one where Charlie comes back from the dead, is it? No, sorry, forgot, you don't do paranormal. I am only kidding RUTHY, I know it was time for him to Go Home to God and that was beautifully done.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

Cruises don't appeal to me at all because of the buffets. I'm a diabetic and I can spot an all-you-can-eat problem a mile away. But I'm happy you got to go and eager to see Alaska as a book setting.
Kathleen D. Bailey
Freelance writer

kaybee said...

Revisions, contest judges, crit partners, it's all basically the same, WILL THIS MAKE A BETTER BOOK? I got some good feedback from Cathy Yardley and ripped apart the ending of the sequel to the book I can't talk about because it's a Genesis semi. Two pairs of eyes were better in that case.

Sherida Stewart said...

Ruthy, your post is great. It is fun to see three Seeker books together! Your Alaska pictures have me dreaming of a cruise to visit up north. What a wonderful gift from your kids!

Your thoughts left me feeling like a real writer. I have deleted (but saved to a cut-scenes file) my evocative prologue and my beloved arriving-home-on-a-train scene because of good feedback. I'm revising and find I love doing this. Good to learn I can be flexible. Your plan for addressing more revising issues is very...ooops...helpful! Thank you!

Please put my name in the cat dish for Healing the Lawman's Heart. I'll be visiting Wal-Mart if I don't win. :)

Oooo! Salmon and sourdough toast.....yum!

Natalie Monk said...

Ruthy! GREAT post!

When I read, "THE LONGER YOU TAKE TO REVISE OR REWRITE A PROPOSAL OR BOOK, THE HARDER IT IS," I loved that you repeated it. YES. So true! This is one thing I'm learning (hopefully a little quicker on this second ms).

I recently started using the Lifetick goal tracking site, which has really made revisions fun--a great way to recognize and celebrate progress!

Thanks for challenging us and encouraging us to get those revisions done!

Carol Garvin said...

So glad to hear you enjoyed your Alaskan cruise. We never expected to take a cruise, but have now done the Alaska route *three* times, because it's so wonderful! Such amazing scenery! Looking forward to seeing more of your photos.

Congratulations to you, Missy and Tina. How exciting to have your books out at the same time!

As for revising -- such great advice, thanks. I like the revision and editing processes, but have the (bad) habit of doing it indefinitely instead of finishing and submitting. :o

Sandy Smith said...

Your trip looks amazing. What great kids you have!

Revising is really the more fun part of writing for me. I have such a hard time writing the first draft.

Please enter me in the cat dish!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Where were you a month ago?? I just went through a grueling set of revisions to the sequel to "Irish Meadows"! (Sorry if I've been missing in action - this is why!)
I had to incorporate a lot of plot changes and do painstaking scene-by-scene checking of the new threads, deleting old ones. Moved scenes around like checkers on a checkerboard and then had to make sure everything flowed. Major mental drain. And then I had no time off to 'let it sit'. So I pray for my dear editor! LOL.
(You forgot to add that during this process you will lose all confidence in your abilities as a writer!)

What a great gift from your kids! The cruise looks awesome!

May I mention here (hope I won't get my knuckles rapped) that I am looking for influencers for "Irish Meadows"? Anyone interested in getting a copy of my historical romance from the publisher in exchange for a review, a shout out in social media, or any other type of promotion of the book, please email me privately and I'll add you to my list!
sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Can't believe the release day is fast approaching (early July).

By the way, LOVED that picture of the 3 Seeker books together! Must order them all!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jeanne, good morning! Or afternoon! Either/or!

Yes, it's the jumping in that's hard... but then it's easier because you begin to see the point of that new thread or excising the old one.

And when it starts to gel, we're so happy!!!!

Lyndee H said...

Wow, RUTHY! There were so many days where I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong with the internet. And then it'd hit me! No RUTHY! I missed you!

So happy to see the wonderful pics and know you had a great time. And that good ol' Dave made a new friend, too. ;)

Hearing you loud and clear about revising and resubmitting. I'm not 'married' to my writing. If someone says it's not working, I'm willing to revise. My problem arises when I can't figure out how to fix it or I don't understand the suggestions. No matter how many ways I'm told. It's sorta like me and computers. I can type and save, but don't ask me to adjust margins. I might delete the entire work instead.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to keep trying. I am. Thanks to you and the Seekerville mentors here, I have gotten way further down this road than I ever dreamed. Thank you for your encouragement!

Keli Gwyn said...

It sounds like you had an amazing time in Alaska, Ruthy. I enjoyed seeing your pictures.

Thanks for the great post! I used to be a fan of R&R. I mean, who doesn't like rest and relaxation? These days, though, R&R = hope, possibilities and a dream come true. Why? Because I received a Revise & Resubmit request from Emily Rodmell, that's why?

Sure, I'd already had one book released by a different, but so what? If Emily thought my new story showed promise but wanted me to tear into it, remove the stuff that didn't work, add better stuff and send her a new and improved version, I was all over it.

Hope. Possibilities. I clung to them as I worked on the revisions and sent the new story on its way. And guess what? Emily and the LIH team thought the new version was good enough to contract!

What came next? Emily sent more revisions. Whoo whee! Another opportunity to make my story stronger yet!

That R&R story had a happy ending. In less than two weeks Family of Her Dreams will hit the shelves of Walmarts and Kmarts across the country. I'm pinching myself.

R&R letters are gold, I tell you. If you get one, rejoice--and then get to work, implementing the great steps in Ruthy's post. You could end up with a happy ending of your own.

Keli Gwyn said...

Missing word alert = publisher

I'd had a book released by a different publisher.

The recovering perfectionist in me couldn't resist clarifying that.

Sarah Claucherty said...

As a college student and writing tutor, I practically live with the "rewrite and revise" theme. Really, I should just scribble it on the wall by my desk. (Anybody got a box of crayons??)

Glad to see you back, Ruthy! It always gets a little more lively around Seekerville with you home. ;) What a nice gift from your kids!

I'd love to win this LI!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Love the pictures from the cruise! What an amazing gift!

My first R&R arrived in my inbox this past August. I was overjoyed that it was an R&R and not a rejection like I received the year before on my first submission, but it still stung. It took a full month for me to be able to attempt the revisions. Then it took four months to complete the revisions. I resubmitted it in late January, and I'm waiting to hear back.

I was so overwhelmed. Mainly because I wasn't sure what parts of the manuscript to leave and what parts to toss. I had 5,000 words to "play with" since I hadn't hit the top end of the word count. I think I ended up cutting about 4,000 words, so I added around 9,000 words to the manuscript during the revisions.

I won't say I love the revision process, but I am learning to appreciate it.

Thanks for the great post, Ruthy!

Erica Vetsch said...

Yep, yep, yep! I'm working on revisions on my Blurb2Book submission. I got great feedback from the editors on my stage two submission, and you can bet I'm listening to everything they say as I finish this book!

The Alaskan cruise looks fabulous!

Barbara Scott said...

Ruthy, you are right on. (Forgive the '60s reference.) I hope every writer takes your advice as the gospel...because it is in the publishing world. Love your style, lady!

I just finished editing a hard copy of my manuscript, making notes on what to research as well. For instance, there were no .45s (guns) in 1875; a standard weight of flour sold in those pretty flour sacks had not yet been set; and I had to get rid of a homesteader's chocolate lab. No such animal running around Montana back then. He's now a black-and-white sheepdog. And did you know there is actually a breed called the Montana Cur dog? Me neither.

It's important to catch all those little missteps and make sure your timeline works.

I've already read your book so you don't need to throw my name in the hat. Excellent read!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lyndee, congrats on making it through to the next round on the Blurb 2 Book contest!!!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Barbara Scott, that's what I'm finding as I venture into historicals, too... that I need to watch for those little trip-you-ups, and catch them, but I'm having SO MUCH FUN that it really should be illegal.

Thank you for your kind words about Healing the Lawman's Heart! Aw, that's so stinkin' nice of you! I'm beaming!!!

Bless you and I love the black and white sheep dog!

Debby Giusti said...

Great info, Ruthy!

Tanya Agler said...

Ruthy, I'm so glad you had such fun on your cruise. I like the bear picture.

The good part about being unpublished is I get to revise a lot, but that can be bad because sometimes I have to give myself permission to just start the next book and stop the revisions.

I like the little rewards. My WH and I are a season behind on Castle so that's always a treat, and of course, M&Ms. They're like potato chips, I can never eat just one.

So I finished revisions on my book and have started my next book. Thanks for the advice.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, sorry I was gone! I was working today but then had to run and help a friend move some stuff to her new home. I used Dave's roughed up farm truck, and I think I made the neighbor's NERVOUS when I came down the street, because this street has never seen a farm truck, guaranteed!

We're done and I'm back to chat. I brought popcorn!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Laura! Welcome to Seekerville, sweet thing! And you're welcome, these are the tips that separate the gloss from the reality. And honestly, it's nervewracking the first time, but after that, it's just part of the job... So nice to see you here!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, hey! I love revising too, and I actually do it better sometimes with direction. There've been books that I thought weren't quite right, but couldn't put my finger on where I went wrong... Oh, I found out, all right, LOL!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Hicks, stop that!!!

You got me teary-eyed. Don't do that. I'm a meany pants, remember? :)

Thank you for your kind words, and honest-to-goodness, every word is true. We keep striving, keep trying, keep re-writing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Connie Queen!!!!!

Do it. Yes, exactly as asked, do it. And here's why.

Rachelle did a great job here yesterday, talkin' 'bout writing the story of your heart. We all know that and love the premise.

Well... Take Two: It is okay to write as directed until you have an established audience.

Is that selling out? HECK NO!!!! And that's the only drawback I see with the "write the book of your heart, your way" scenario, because even if it's a great book... and a publisher BUYS IT... then it's their book and you're going to make changes anyway.

So why quibble now?

AND THEN.... once you've got a bunch of books out.... you explore other venues with your quirky heroine (save her! Save her! Save her!) and it's funny... sometimes, 5 years down the road and a dozen or more stories later... you're not as in love with the character!

I remember one time I was trying to write an empathetic character, she was filled with self-doubt and questioning everything and Melissa said, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???"

And I said, "Um, changing her up? Making her vulnerable? You know... DIFFERENT!"

And she said, "Don't Do That Again. Everyone Loves Ruthy Heroines Because They Know They'll Rise Up and Kick Butt."

Clearly I never tried to write a character like that again! :)

Do it, my friend. Produce enough work and I promise: Your time will come.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Connie Queen and Jackie Smith, the trip was an unbelievable gift... But they told us when you have six kids, they can pool their funds and get COOL presents! :)

Honestly, I'm happy with no presents and everyone home for a couple of holidays/year. That's the Mama side of me!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb H, I know of a gal who took a couple of years to change up a book... and shopped it around. No sale.

Changed it as requested and BOOM!

I've learned that editors know their stuff and that helps my confidence in the system.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Zey Zey, congratulations! I'm so excited for you!!!!

And I love that it put you on the ledge, LOL! Been there, done that, I'm MOSTLY calmer now!

I've often thought the same thing about revision letters... I have friends who've gotten huge ones, but here's what I've discovered: When it's a BAD THREAD running through and the author decides to cut that thread... all of a sudden the revision letter is 2-3 pages like it should be. Sure that means a major revision, but that's way easier to me than to go through and readjust a thread that isn't working....

And editors are people! If we insist on our way, even tweaked, that might look like we're pushing the thread to the max. Usually then I just dump the thread... and re-write. Which makes the time when I don't have to re-write even more delightful! HAPPY DANCE TIME!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Thank you, Marianne! A mile from the Alaskan Highway????? So you were in Dawson Creek? That's still a fair distance from Alaska, is that where you live in the summer? And then AZ in the winter?

Go you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kathryn, your name's in and there is something irresistible about babies in stories! Now I know that the occasional person isn't fond of babies and family romance, but gosh, my numbers say A WHOLE LOT OF FOLKS ARE! So bring on the babies, and sweet toddlers, and strollers and dogs! I'm in your corner, 100%

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pam knows me well. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Myra, I know what you mean. I get something caught in my head and I sometimes need help seeing a new way. So then I talk to you guys or Mia Ross or Natasha or Melissa and it's amazing how just a conversation (where other folks offer their thoughts) can get my brain seeing new possibilities. And then I wonder why I didn't see it earlier????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

KayBee, LOL! Poor Charlie.... and gosh, life is just so tough sometimes.

This story brings some nice joy to Marty, Zach Harrison's dad... Remember how he'd been misdiagnosed and woke up to a new reality? Well, his life is growing fuller! He's such a good guy! I love the Kirkwood Lake series, and I'm putting a Kirkwood novella in our next collection coming out in July because I love that town and those people!!!!

Thank you for your kind words, always. You make me smile!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandy Smith, you're in! And yes, they are amazing kids. Gosh, we were blessed to have them, blessed to raise them and it's so much fun being "Grammy" now! And yes, baking for them, buying them things, playing with them... God is good!

Missy Tippens said...

What a wonderful trip!! I've already shamed my kids. :)

Oh, and a wonderful post! Thanks for the tips. I'm really taking the "do it quickly" to heart as I revise a proposal.

Chill N said...

Ahhh, Ruthy, you have given me a new writing quote: "If it sounds like writing, I re-write it." Elmore Leonard

Rewriting and revising are my friends -- you wouldn't believe the (much better) stories I've discovered buried in the stories I've written.

How cool about the Triple Seeker Sighting! Congrats on the latest release, but pretty please give me time to catch my breath before the next one ;-)

Nancy C

CatMom said...

Sorry I'm so tardy stopping by, Ruthy (been on the go today) but LOVED this post. Exactly what I need right now, as I'm preparing to revise a couple of manuscripts I wrote several years ago.
And I'm thrilled you were able to take an Alaskan Cruise!! WOW!! :) That is definitely on my Wish List.
Will be ordering HEALING THE LAWMAN'S HEART so no need to enter me. :) (and yes, that also means another kitty photo with a Ruthy book - - what can I say? My cats have excellent taste in reading material!) ;)
Hugs, Patti Jo

Edwina said...

Welcome home!

Your article was so informative - as I'm going through revisions right NOW!!
:) But it's okay!
Revisions only serve to make our books better!

Throw my name in the kitty bowl for the drawing and if I don't win, I promise I will buy it!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kaybee, I hear you! I heard about the laden buffets, but the Alaskan cruise has several days in port, so we weren't eating on the ship. And we did a dining room dinner and met a wonderful Australian couple that we love... So that's all controlled eating.

Before the cruise we walked 17 miles in Seattle, up and down hills, as we toured the city ahead of time. I think that was a pre-emptive strike! :)

ohiohomeschool said...

I am glad you had a great cruise! I liked the Mark Twain quote, and what you had to say on revisions. It is so easy to take making revisions personally when feedback is truly a gift.

Thanks for your thoughts,
PS I would love to win a copy of your new book.

Karen Campbell Prough said...

I tend to like doing edits. Not sure why. I just got back the edits on my second book, and I find it interesting to see what was suggested, loved, or marked up as a "suggested delete". I am a "rambler", so my writing can always use the chopping block. :)
But yes...sometimes I want to cling to what I have written. I just think it's sooo good. (Sigh) Yes, I will get rid of the five-hundred thats in my book. That is the part that hurts! I love that.

Sherri Woodbridge said...

That is one of the greatest posts I have read in a while. Not just for the content, but the wit and lightheartedness. I LOVED it and the timing was great. I have been struggling with my rewrite but not anymore! Thanks so much and see you on facebook!

Becky Dempsey said...

I have the hardest time cutting out things even when I know thing aren't going the right way. It feels sort of like cutting off a finger. lol. I like the idea of putting the cut scenes in another document so they aren't just deleted, but can be rescued if needed.

I'd love to be in for the drawing.

Olivia said...

Better late than never. Welcome back from the great cruise and love the little one sitting in your lap! Rewrite? Of course, it is one of the great joys of being a pantser. Seriously, you showed us it's all in the attitude and then let us recover with some great pointers! Put my name in the cat dish for your latest, but not yet, the greatest book.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Olivia, good morning and thank you! I'm tossing your name in now, sweet thing! And yes, better late than never around here, and there might even be some Baked Alaska fresh from the oven! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Becky, you're in! It gets easier with time, really. It's amazing what I realize I don't need... and what's detracting from the story. Keep at it, but yes, saving it makes me feel better!

We're such nut jobs!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Aw, Sherri, what a nice thing to say.


We are in this together, sweet thing, and that makes the journey so much easier... and fun!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Karen, that is a good point that you make! I want that understood by everyone, that when you pepper your work that way, that it's going to have an effect on your reader's enjoyment!

LAUGHING! My current overused word appears to be "gazed"....

Someone needs to invent a few more synonyms for "gaze"... This isn't my fault, it's English lack!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Nancy c, I love that quote!

And you have until July when the next Seeker collections come out. And then September when "Refuge of the Heart" releases.... And a two-story collection with Mia Ross via Kindle!

And then another Seeker collection for Christmas!!!! And then my January Love Inspired "An Unexpected Groom"!

I'm giving you time to breathe this summer! You get almost two months!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Edwina, I'm so glad you stopped over! I'm tossing it in and thank you! Glad for the perfect timing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Becky/Ohio Home School Mom, you're in!

And yes, it's kind of crushing the first time you get revisions and you think "They hated this, they want it changed, it's terrible!"...

And then you just do it, they love it, and the world goes on!

A learning curve for grownups!

Crystal L Barnes said...

Facing this with a short-story I just contracted. Thanks for the input. (and kick in the pants. :) )