Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Other Dreaded R: Revisions

This post is not for sissies.
Let's start this post with a definition of revisions. For today's post, I am talking about editorial revisions. You sent in an a requested or unrequested manuscript or proposal to a publishing house. You received a letter back. If you are published and the letter comes from your editor this letter may be defined as a revision letter.

If you are unpublished or you are published and this letter is from an editor who is not "your" editor "YET," the letter may not be defined as as a revision letter. However, if this letter outlines the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript and does not indicate that you should never darken this editor's door again, you should consider this a revision letter. If there is any doubt whatsoever, do email that editor and say something like this:


Dear Amazing Editor,
Thank you so much for taking time to review my manuscript.  I am working to strengthen this story using your insightful comments. When completed, may I resubmit this story?

For the record, I'd been submitting on and off for a good many years and had revised and resubmitted many times before my first sale. The story of my first sale is centered on revisions. I received a snail mail rejection letter for A Place Called Home. When ACFW was in Denver that fall I showed the letter to Seeker Debby Giusti, who remarked, "That's not a rejection. That's a revision letter." What did I know? It didn't say revise and resubmit. I did revise, and I did an additional requested revision after the book sold. That book became The Rancher's Reunion. 

 Do you know how busy editors are? Consider this: they read your pages, logged the story into the publisher's data base as received (yes, you are now in a publisher data base) and took the time to type you a letter. So why would you ignore this opportunity, unless you :

1. Are not very bright.
2. Are a certified diva/divo.
3. Got a better offer.
4. Decided to take a different publishing route.
5. Disagree morally, and/or ethically with the requested revisions.

For the purposes of this post I will consider that no Seeker Villager is #1. At very least, send a thank you note. On paper. Yes. Snail mail. 

A few more foundational notes.

It doesn't matter if you have published zero books, five books or fifty books, revision letters are as common as rejections. The reasons for both do not necessarily indicate that you suck. So let's take that option off the table.

You can get a revision request at the proposal stage or at the completed manuscript stage. 

You can skate along with no revisions for several, or even many books, and then get slammed with heavy revisions.  You can have light revisions on all your books.  Often the definition of light and heavy is subjective according to which side of the red pen you are on.

Also note that some publishers call the stage when a book has already been accepted for publication macro edits not revisions. Every publisher handles revisions differently. Some use track changes for everything. Some do not until you get to the line edit stage or copy edit stage. ( Edits vs. Copy Edits. / Copy Editing vs. Line Editing.)


My Revision Tips  

This post is NOT the unequivocal bible of revision tips. These are my suggestions utilizing my experiences and those of several Seekers who offered their revision letters for our use.

 I have had three editors at the same publishing house for seven books I have also amazingly enough, had books with no revisions, books with light revisions, and had several books with heavy revisions. In all honesty, my first big revision had me crying for a day (remember the 24 Hour Rule). The last book I turned in, I apparently forgot EVERYTHING I know and thank you, God, for an editor who didn't ask me if my cat wrote the book, but simply sent me a very nice, albeit detailed, revision letter. 


24 Hour Rule. Memorize it!

  The Letter Portion of Your Revisions

 Here is the skinny on your revision letter. Editors are nice people and apparently someone sent them a memo about the sandwich method about the same time the very same memo went out to critique groups. The samples of revision letters here are from several different publishers and yet they all begin with pointing out the author's strengths before discussing weaknesses. 

These are some of the lovely positive reinforcements from YES, REAL REVISION LETTERS:

#1  I’m so excited about partnering with you to make xxx the best it can be. There’s a lot to love in this book.  Great job on your premise! Your sense of story and the cast of identifiable characters make the reader want to turn the page. As always, though, an editor looks for ways to make the content stronger. That’s my job. 


#2 I think your writing is really strong, and you do a great job of character development. However, I think that the manuscript could use some revisions with plotting.  

#3  I’m thrilled to have a chance to work with you on another book. You did an amazing job with xx and xx's story. You took the revisions to heart, and the book is a lot better as a result. A few more tweaks are needed, but you are well on your way to a stellar story. 

#4 This is an entertaining read that flows nicely and is sure to satisfy romance readers looking for a side of adventure, action, and humor. Likable characters, real stakes for the lead characters, and a feeling of forward momentum with a fast pace. The writing is smooth and competent, with enough going on regarding the plot to hold interest.

#5 Thank you so much for all the work you did on xx. Overall I feel you did an excellent job. You’re writing is polished and reads well, and I especially enjoyed the dialogue. It’s smart and interesting, and made me feel connected with the characters. This story will really capture our readers’ hearts. And while it’s in good shape, it could use some revisions to make it even stronger.
Before You Start!
 

Your first step is to create a copy of the original manuscript and save it in safe PLACES. Your external hard drive, email it to yourself, in the cloud and on your computer. Give it a specific name that will tell you this is a copy of your original manuscript.

RockyMountainReunionCOPYOFORIGINAL4_3_16.docx

Please, please use another name so you do not overwrite the manuscript.

When you start revisions use a new name.

 RockyMountainReunionRevisionsBegun4_3_16.docx

 Light Revisions


 1. Translate

This is a hugely important first step. You must understand the revisions to do the revisions. If you don't understand what the editor is asking of you, check with another experienced author, or if you are published, of course, you will ask your editor. 

2. Bullet Points

Many light and medium revisions come numbered or in short bullet points or even numbered according to the page the revision request is on. Note that to maintain your sanity it will be very important not to mess with the pagination if your editor provides revisions by page numbers. Debby Giusti and Pam Hillman discuss their methods later in this post

I like to highlight the bullet points. Cut them out with scissors, and then tack them to a display board and start going through them one by one.  I put them in the order I will attack them, which is not necessarily the order the editor gave them to me. It gives me a visual that is less intimidating and a feeling of accomplishment as I take them down when completed. (This is my method. This may not be your method. I am visual, and need a visual aide.) 


Often in light or medium revisions you are  clarifying, tweaking, strengthening, and layering-in where you may have missed an opportunity to do so.


BIG REVISIONS


Big revisions mean you had bigger or more issues to deal with. That's life. It happens.  Big revisions can mean goal, motivation and conflict concerns, character issues, plot holes, or maybe a lot of small things.

 1. Translate

I find that big revisions mean more narrative. So you have to take the narrative your editor sent you, or even a narrative with bullet points and translate them to clearly name the issue,  so you can address the issue/s.

 Here are my translations from my most recent revisions. Note: I cannot show you more of the revision letter because the book has not released yet. This was a little over a two and a quarter page revision letter. (Not my my longest revision letter either.)  My editor was spot on.

Consider yourself blessed if you have an editor who really cares about your writing as much as you do, and works as hard as you do to make your stories go from good to AWESOME.  


What I did on each page was take the paragraph and translate it into what I have to do to fix the issue (It makes sense to me.) So I was able to take two and a quarter pages and turn them into a list of 11 items to address.


2. Create a Plan

 Just like light revisions, you have to create a plan. Work on the easy stuff first and then attack the issues that hurt your brain and/or the issues that will have a huge ripple effect on your entire manuscript.


  3. Save the Words

For this particular story, I took my editor's advice and did a few things right away. 

1. I eliminated chapter one, scene one.

2. I cut out three characters.
3. I took action from the middle of the book and moved it to the first three chapters.
3. I also decided to add three additional scenes. 

Note: As per her style, my editor told me the issue and WHY it was an issue, and in a few instances gave me alternate options as a jumping off point for ideas. If I had disagreed or was confused, I would feel comfortable to call or email to discuss this.

Every book is different.  The important thing to remember is that everything you do in revisions (even light ones) will often impact the entire story's continuity in some way.

Save the Words Method

1.  Here is my method. I take everything I cut and put it in an outtake manuscript.This outtake was 5 thousand words. Label this as an outtakes manuscript. 

SecondChanceinParadiseOUTTAKES.docx 

2. Then I go through and highlight what I can use again and color code it as use now or use later. That translates to -I know exactly what to do with those words now or I WILL find a place for those words because they are too good to lose. 

Periodically I print off a new outtake manuscript as I utilize the saved words (copy and past them in your final manuscript and then cross them out on the hard copy). 

 
Outtake. SAVE THE WORDS

 Socks in the Dryer 

I can't emphasize enough the importance of a read through after revisions. After all, you were in the middle of a different project when these revisions came, (shame on you if you were not) and the revision process, like doing laundry, means you can expect things to end up missing, like socks in the dryer. Don't just do a regular read through! Mix it up, because your eyes get lazy and they overlook missing words and lost punctuation. After twenty-five edits and a revision, you have your story memorized.

These tips are from my self-editing class.

1. Read the entire manuscript aloud or have someone read it aloud to you.

2.   Author Molly Greene has a great technique for printing and reading your manuscript with fresh eyes. Create a Key-Line or a Paperback version of your manuscript. Why should you read on paper? You absorb more. Check out this article then print your manuscript for the final read through using these instructions.
Instructions:

Set page to landscape (go to File > Page Set-up > Paper: size/letter, width 11” & length 8.5” > Click Okay)
• Create 2 columns (go to Format > Columns > Click Two > Click Okay
• Set document to single space
My Instructions:
Page Layout: Orientation: Landscape
Page Layout: 11” x 8.5”
Page Layout: Columns :Two

Home: Select All: Right Click : Paragraph: Single Space


Who knows the TV show? Years it was on? Just the facts, ma'am.
Clips of Real Revision Notes

Every editor has their own style!
From Sample Revision Letter #1
  Character Interactions. 


You might want to take a closer look at the interactions between xx and xx or xx and xx or xx and xx. I noticed that in places these described emotions and/or interactions seem unnatural or over the top. I’ve made specific comments in the manuscript, but it would be good to go back through the manuscript and question every piece of dialogue. Ask yourself, “Does this sound natural? Would this character really say this? Would the reader understand the scene if I just eliminated this?” Rather than detail them here, I’ve made extensive notes about character interactions throughout the manuscript.

From Sample Revision Letter #2
 P.32 Not clear here why xx had to come home so suddenly. Was xx wanting custody of xx?
  P.44 Scene break’s last line might be too abrupt.
  P.69 Not clear yet why she has such a healthy diet.  Needs to be explained better.
  P.85 When does the conflict about going for the same job kick in? I had assumed this would be the plot for the book.
  P.88-90 Would rather not hop back and forth from xx to xx like this. Can we do this another way?
  P.133 This whole outdoors church thing is fun, but why’s it here? How does it further the plot? 

 From Sample Revision Letter #3
Pg. 108: He should ask xx in paragraph 2, not tell her.
Pg. 120: Cut down on the chit chat.
Pg. 130: Too soon for talk of love. And we never heard this in xx POV.
Pg. 138: Bottom of page is awkward. And they shouldn’t “date”. It kills the tension.
Pg. 185: Way too early for this. What’s keeping them apart internally?
Pg. 225: We need a transition from previous page. It feels like something is missing here.
Pg. 241: Dialogue is really stilted here.
Pg. 243: It’s too late to be learning about this. It feels like an afterthought.

 From Sample Revision Letter #4

1.It seems as though people are recovering from very serious injuries way too quickly, several times throughout the story. Consider revising these situations to be more realistic and believable, either by allowing more time for recovery or making the injury less serious.

2. Keep an eye out for POV—that it’s consistent, that each of the POVs is necessary, each scene portrayed with the most appropriate and advantageous viewpoint character. For example, should Hero’s friend’s POV be switched to Hero’s since he is this story’s hero?


3. The romance is working, though it seems based a bit too much on physical attraction alone. Overall, however, we think readers will like Hero and Heroine as a couple. The only thing we’d leave out is Hero “telling” Heroine she’s going to marry him. We like him better when he’s baffled by women in general yet taken by Heroine.
This is not real chocolate. Please do not touch your screen.

Tips from My Friends

You'll no doubt sense a theme from many of these tips!


 A revision letter is a gift intended to make your book shine. But it can also sting, so read it, put it aside for a day or two and let the emotions settle. Then print off the manuscript and use color coded sticky flags to mark areas of concern. Finally, make the changes without compromising your voice or story. Never ignore a revision letter. My first one was my path to publication. Linda Goodnight-The Rain Sparrow.


If I have extensive revisions, I print the manuscript, punch holes in the pages and insert them in a three-ring binder. With the revisions in mind, I read through the pages of the manuscript like I would read a book and make corrections as I go. Any lengthy additions can be written on the blank back of the previous page. In that way, I never delete words that I may need later.  When I’m ready to enter the corrections into the computer, I begin on the last page and work to the front to keep my computer page numbers in sync with my hard copy. Debby Giusti-Plain Danger.



First, breathe. Drop the defensive posture. PUT AWAY THE KNIVES!!! This is normal, it's part of the biz and honestly, 95% of the time, they're right! Start at the beginning, work through it and be glad you've got a job! Ruth Logan Herne-More Than a Promise.


Read the letter once or twice, then put it away. Don’t do anything with the story for as many days as it takes for the editor’s suggestions to sound less like “Do it my way" and more like the “What if . . . ?” that got you excited about the story in the first place. When you’re starting to see the story with new eyes and can imagine all the new and better possibilities, then and only then are you mentally and emotionally ready to tackle revisions. (Of course, if your editor gave you a revision deadline, obviously you have to push the coming-to-terms process into high gear and JUST DO IT.) Myra Johnson-Rancher for the Holidays.



Take some time to absorb the particulars of the revision letter and try not to take it personally.  After you've allowed yourself some time to take it all in, tackle it head-on, always keeping in mind that doing the revisions is a means to an end.  Revisions will bring you one step closer to publication and may result in a contract. Belle Calhoun-Alaskan Reunion.



Relax, a lot of writers have survived the revision process. Take a day or three to think about the editor's notes. Eat chocolate. Pray. Then roll up your sleeves, dive in and make your book better. Rachel Hauck-The Wedding Chapel.


 Tip 1-First, I skim through the entire manuscript, looking for comments or suggestions, noting anything that might change the big picture. Then I work in layers. First, I fix everything that’s a no-brainer: misspelled words, punctuation and grammar mistakes, etc. I skip over anything that I have to think about or  I’m unsure of. Then, I make another pass with the rewrites, as those require more attention. Hopefully, this is the last pass, unless there is some big rewrite that causes other portions in the manuscript to become out of kilter. Then I panic.  


Tip 2-If you are editing your manuscript in Word, make sure that you and your editor are on the same page as far as when and when not to accept changes in Track Changes. Generally, when I’m writing for my publishers, I leave all changes on the manuscript, and don’t accept anything, but when working with a freelance editor and the manuscript goes back and forth several times, I will accept changes to clean up a manuscript. Just be aware of what’s preferred, so that you don’t get caught at 2 am wondering what to do.
Pam Hillman-The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection.


Do NOT panic—the letter probably seems worse at first reading than it really is. Set the letter aside until the next day when you can read it again more objectively. Pray for insight and wisdom. Get editor clarification if needed. Tell yourself you CAN do this—then get to work, one point at a time.  Glynna Kay-Claiming the Single Mom's Heart.


As you are reading your revision letter..remember it's a revision letter not the OTHER DREADED R. The rejection letter.  Say a prayer of thanks!

My very first rejection letter started, 'Dear Sir/Madame.' Here I'd offered them my life's work and they couldn't be bothered to know my gender. I cried over how impersonal it was, and only much later did I realize that none of it's personal. These people don't know me or my dreams. I dusted myself off and went back to writing. Kate Breslin-Not By Sight.

We end with a picture of Kate's Rejection Letters. 


"Contains images that some writers may find disturbing. Writer discretion is advised." 

This is the part of the blog post where you tell us about your revision experience (in politically correct terms) or ask questions about revisions (which anyone should feel free to answer), or give us helpful tips that were not mentioned in this post. 

Leave a comment today for the opportunity to get your name in the recycled paper box for your choice of any RWA RITA 2016 finalist book in the inspirational category (as available on Amazon in ebook or print), because you should be reading all the finalists in the category you write or read. Winners announced in the next Weekend Edition.






Tina Radcliffe really likes to write about things that she too struggles with (fiction & non fiction). 

131 comments :

  1. This tells me that being a writer is about the same as any job (or task). To do it well takes effort, dedication, hard work, faith in yourself & every once in a while you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over again! The 24 hour rule is smart :-) Then you can come back to it refreshed & with a different state of mind.

    Writers ROCK!

    **Please toss my name in the hat for a chance to win an RWA RITA 2016 finalist book in the inspirational category**

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  2. It is the same as any job where you work your butt off, pay your dues and talk to imaginary people in your head and get paid to work in your pajamas with your cat.

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  3. My only tip is you don't have to take any suggestions if it's not "you" or goes against the direction you want to take it. If you think a revision suggestion is bad and want to make sure you're not just being a diva, let your agent or crit partner read it and let them tell you. Then if they agree with you, don't go with the suggestion, but come up with an alternate fix that marries both your vision/voice with the underlying criticism instead.

    Throw me in that hat, please. :)

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  4. Excellent suggestion, Melissa. There have been times I fretted over something and then let it sit and realized I didn't really need to cut something or totally change it. The perception was not clear, so I simply tweaked it and nothing more was said on the subject.

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  5. Great post Tina. One for the keeper book. I also like what Melissa said above. I've often wondered if a writer can stand up without fear of the revisions creating a rejection down the road somewhere.

    I'd love to have my name tossed into the hat. Thank you.

    Blessings to all today.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  6. As a reader I have often wondered if the revisions reveals a completely different story than the proposed original.

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  7. It's all about communication, Cindy W. :)

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  8. Wow! Tina, is this one of the three blog posts that you wrote during Speedbo? This would have taken me the entire month to write. Great stuff! I've printed it and plan to re-read it again and again. Thanks!

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  9. Mary Preston! I guess that depends on how much of your plotting is really pantsing. The proposal is submitted with a detailed synopsis. Then approved and then you write the book. So really, the overall story doesn't change. The editorial revision is often asking you to clarify, deepen and strengthen your story, hopefully not make huge changes late in the game.

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  10. It is and it took me about four days. Yeah, three posts and five Weekend Editions during Speedbo. I am working on training my cats to do the WE ED, but so far they refuse.

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  11. Good morning, Tina. What a great post. This is definitely a keeper, and thanks for sharing!

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  12. Revisions and editing...a seemingly endless project. Thanks for sharing!

    Please put my name in the hat for the giveaway! I love books!!!!!!!

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  13. You are very welcome, Jackie. This will come in handy when you least expect it.

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  14. Your name is in there Kate. (and yeah, it's the nature of the beast...polishing that stone until it shines.)

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  15. This is brilliant, and something I do regularly, because honestly, if you never get a revision letter, you're probably not producing a whole lot of books... Even Harper Lee got revised, so this is BRILLIANT...

    I was stunned with my first one, too, Tina! And then I had to rewrite book 3 completely, in 30 days, and it was DECEMBER.

    2K/day, between holidays, day job and a huge family, but when it was done, I'd proven to myself that nothing would rattle me... and if it did/does, that I'd survive!

    And that's clutch.

    Did I mention this is BRILLIANT??? And in the ways of amazing timing, I just received a revision letter from Melissa Endlich yesterday, and the minute I started reading her points, I saw a new direction for the book... and it made perfect sense. I could see what she was seeing, and sometimes when I'm in the middle of a series, there's just too much in my head (because we might write/re-write a book 2/3/4 times, and you have all of that in your head!) and it takes that extra set of eyes to refocus my direction.

    So once I'm done with edits to Home on the Range, I'm jumping right to Grace Haven, and I can't wait to implement her thoughts. Because I can see they're going to work!

    God bless editors. Every one.

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  16. Well, uhhhh, gee, I'm a little stunned you used the B word.

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  17. So tell us, Ruthy, how do you do revisions. Any strategy to share? Any techniques?

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  18. Good morning, TINA! TOP NOTCH take on revisions. Each book is different. Some require much more labor than others. Some are just tweaks and clarifications.

    I'm fortunate that my editor has a good eye and catches things that I missed because after living with the story for months & months as I wrote it, I'm not as objective as she is. She sees opportunities to make a character more likeable or their GMC more convincing, the necessity of moving scenes around to better effect or condensing or eliminating scenes to move the story along more quickly, or tweaking the dialogue to make it more realistic, etc.

    My editor is good about asking questions--"what was your intent in this scene?"--and making suggestions--"what I'd like to see here is something more XYZ." She doesn't necessarily dictate to me HOW to address a problematic issue, but brings it to my attention so that I can find a way to fix it. I definitely consider my editor to be a blessing!

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  19. As a reader, I always wondered how the author handles the dreaded R & R.... Being an author is not for the faint of heart. I appreciate ALL the blood, sweat and tears that goes into creating a story.


    Please toss my name in the hat for a chance to win an RWA RITA 2016 finalist book in the inspirational category

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  20. Thank you so much for this post. All the insight, tips, suggestions, and examples. Simply amazing all the knowledge shared. When I was working on my English degree and wrote papers, I had a professor who would let you do rewrites. You'd write your paper, turn it in early, and she'd go over it, with a fine-tooth comb, make comments and suggestions, then you'd be able to rework your paper and turn it in. I never turned down that chance! Sometimes I'd have to take a day or turn to let her comments sink in, and in one paper I completely cut something out because she didn't agree with it. I think I was pushing the due date and didn't have time to rework it. It was for a Bible as Literature class and she didn't see my viewpoint. I would work through the easy stuff first, punctuation, spelling, etc and then work on the harder more time consuming stuff. That's the thing I love about contests. I love the feedback. I love reading through the comments and seeing what worked and what didn't. That's how I grow as a writer. Thanks for an awesome post!

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  21. Thanks, GK. Your explanation will perhaps make writers get that it's all about making your book the best you can be. Revisions aren't scary.

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  22. Sally! What a great opportunity. I did rewrites on short stories for Woman's World long before I sold novels. So I always equated Revisions with a sale and thus not a negative thing.

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  23. Happy Wednesday, Caryl! You are in the draw!

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  24. WOW, WOW, WOW, TINA!!! Talk about workshop in a blog!!! This is both AMAZING and MIND-BOGGLING because of the amount of info/research that has gone into this, my friend. And I'm not sure, but I think you have stolen my crown (or Ruthy's) for having the longest Seeker blog ... ;)

    YOU SAID: "You can skate along with no revisions for several, or even many books, and then get slammed with heavy revisions. You can have light revisions on all your books."

    Yep, that was my experience! I barely had any revisions on my first book (A Passion Most Pure, which, of course, I proofed/edited about 60 times before it sold, so it was as clean as this author could make it going in), then just a sprinkling more on book 2, A Passion Redeemed. I remember thinking, what's the big deal with revisions? Why does everybody act like they are a problem?

    And then life changed as I know it. My revision letter was kind of a one-two punch. It started out with, "Julie, I was sailing along, thinking, this could be your best book yet, but when I got to page 400, if I were a reader, I would have put the book down and not finished."

    OUCH. Trust me, I broke the 24-hour rule on that one because there were big plot changes (to me) that I needed to make. In the end, however, the editor was absolutely dead-on (as they usually are!), so I am grateful for her incredible insight.

    Great post, Teenster!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  25. RUTHY SAID: "First, breathe. Drop the defensive posture. PUT AWAY THE KNIVES!!!"

    LOL ... I'd like to amend this for us weepy CDQ types: "First, breathe. Sob your heart out. Pray. Drop the defensive posture. PUT AWAY THE KNIVES!!!"

    GLYNNA SAID: "Do NOT panic—the letter probably seems worse at first reading than it really is."

    Oh, Glynna, that is SO true!! I have actually found that true on EVERY single one of my books, no matter how bloody the R!!

    KATE BRESLIN SAID: "My very first rejection letter started, 'Dear Sir/Madame.' Here I'd offered them my life's work and they couldn't be bothered to know my gender."

    I hear you, Kate! I actually got a rejection letter where the editor scribbled something like "no interest in this project at this time" across my OWN submission letter, apparently thinking I was not even worth the price of a piece of letterhead. :)

    MEME FOR KATE'S R LETTERS: "Contains images that some writers may find disturbing. Writer discretion is advised."

    LOL ... quote is a hoot! And, unfortunately, SO true!! That's quite a stack of R letter,s Kate -- how many is that???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  26. TINA SAID: "The last book I turned in, I apparently forgot EVERYTHING I know and thank you, God, for an editor who didn't ask me if my cat wrote the book, but simply sent me a very nice, albeit detailed, revision letter."

    LOL ... thank God I don't have a cat!! ;)


    TINA ALSO SAID: "This is the part of the blog post where you tell us about your revision experience.

    Well, as I said in a prior comment, I thought I was going to "skate" through the R process since my first book got by relatively unscathed and the second with only a few more Rs. But apparently it was a pattern starting because from that point on, my revisions seemed to get MUCH worse on the next two books. In fact, my fourth book had such a huge plot problem that I thought I was going to have to rewrite a whole new book. That one necessitated a conference call with agent and editor to talk through the problems and after a lot of prayer (and tears), it turned out that by changing one small thing, I was able to save the whole book.

    WHEW!! Just goes to show you the power of prayer!! :)

    HUGS!
    Julie

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  27. I have not gotten a revision letter yet. Hopefully I will get there one day. In the meantime with my writing journey, I am learning the world of critiquing and being critiques. I will admit to being confused with some comments, but I find most are spot one. I am believe it or not excitedly awaiting the judge sheets from the first contests I entered so I can see further what I need to fix. I will be shocked if I do well on these first contests but I understand this is necessary in helping me to become a better writer.

    For the non fiction book I have written the latest rejection a couple of years ago devastated me because they had the manuscript less than 24 hours which means they didn't even read it. Since then I have been working more with writing fiction and all of the helpful hints on Seekerville Just learning and writing. I still go to the non fiction and continue revising and polishing as I continue to learn and develop.

    Thank you Tina and all the Seekers for all of your encouragement as well as a kick in the pants when I need it.

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  28. Tina, yes, actually... after I get beyond the stunned fact that I'm less than PERFECT... :)

    Okay, first I think and pray and try to see what the editor is telling me, why my brilliance didn't shine for her the way it did for me, because I don't send in schlocky books... If I didn't like them/love them, they wouldn't be sent. And like you, I've hit the bulls-eye sometimes, but not mostly... So then I block out time. I look at the revisions, and I let my mind shift and think of how that could be worked into the story. And I don't sit down to start until I "see" what needs to be done because otherwise I'm making more work for myself.

    I print off the revision letter. And I think.... And I picture...

    And when I can "see" how I can re-direct the characters, I go in from front to back, page by page, rewriting scenes as I go. Sometimes a sentence needs a one-word change. Sometimes I write a whole new chapter and delete two chapters.... but it's a page by page technique because I'm a linear writer. A spacey thinker, but a linear writer. But if I get a stroke of brilliance mid-stream, I jot those down at the end of the MS. I scroll to the end, add the thought, and go right back to the page I was on. (writing it down does two things... It cements it in my head so I'm not even likely to need to go back to the thought at the end, and it acts as a reminder if I do forget it!)

    I don't go back and add it then because I lose my flow... I go for 20 pages/day of revisions. In ten to fifteen days, I should have the book almost complete (less time if they're lighter revisions, but if I have to change time-lines and serious stuff, 20 pages a day gets me done in two weeks time)


    And then I go to that back page and fix every note I made during the revision process.

    And then I read it through, tweaking.

    Now here's the interesting part. I don't always have to change everything the editor thought didn't work because my new changes make it work! So then I explain in my letter back to them what I changed, what I shifted, and why I didn't change some things. They know I'll change it if it still doesn't work for them, but sometimes the build-up makes that moment shine brighter and I can leave it...

    Because I prepped it better, thanks to their input.

    So it's not that our stories are terrible when they hit that editor's desk. It's that they might not hit the target audience the way the editor is seeing it, and we trust them to know their audience... Because that's their expertise, to polish our product for the reader's pleasure.

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  29. Wow, Julie. That's quite a story. Sounds like a CDQ lolol.

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  30. That's definitely a linear plan, Ruthy. Interesting how we all do it a bit differently.

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  31. TINA, this is such a meaty post. I need to save it. I think some of my early rejections WERE veiled invitations to revise and resubmit, too late now, but I will be on the alert in the future.
    I agree with RUTHY, 95 percent of the time they are right, and when you've been at this for a while you develop a confidence to know when the 5 percent is that they're NOT. There's a sentence in there somewhere...
    I don't mind revising when someone, contest judge, crit partner or whomever, tells me exactly what they found wrong. Then I can usually deal with it. Or not. If I know what needs fixing, I can usually fix it.
    I also get on revisions as soon as possible, before I lose the impetus.
    And I use hard copy and red Pilot G-2 gel pens a lot.
    Brilliant. If I got a revise and resubmit tomorrow I would jump on it. It means that the editor or agent SEES SOMETHING in your work, what's not to love?
    Kathy Bailey
    Whose attitude is better now that it's spring in New Hampshire and about bloody time

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  32. Great post, Tina! As an editor, I loved it. We truly don't nitpick just for the fun of it :)

    Please throw my name in the drawing. Thanks.

    Leslie

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  33. I searched Ruthy's comment eight times looking for the 'B' word.

    Then I figured it out.

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  34. Great post Tina! Are you going to be offering another self-editing class any time soon? I took it from you and printed it all out. I refer to it a lot. A LOT. It was by far the best class I'd ever taken.

    I got my first request for revisions right after Christmas and I was so happy that it wasn't a rejection, I did the happy dance for over a week. Revisions. Me. Yeah! And wow, did those revision requests really make my story better. Of course, as my luck would have it, shortly after I submitted the revisions, the editor that requested my revisions moved over to a different line at handed my revisions to a new editor, so who knows how that will go.

    I really enjoy reading the banter between you Seekerville ladies. You totally make my day! Now, I'm off to hog-tie...um...I mean teach kinders for the day. Which reminds me....I need more coffee.

    Have a great day!

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  35. Super-duper advice here, TINA!!! And such great examples! My favorite line:

    "After twenty-five edits and a revision, you have your story memorized."

    I doubt most readers realize how many, many, MANY times an author has been over a manuscript before it's finally published. You really do need to build in a little time between each read-through so you have a better chance of seeing it with fresh eyes.

    I also am a big proponent of printing out the ms. in something that resembles a "real" book. I create a new file, set the page to landscape, and make two columns. I even change the font.

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  36. TINA, you've given us a workshop in a post! I'm awed by how thoroughly you covered the topic!

    The novel that required me to make the most revisions was my second book, Courting the Doctor's Daughter. The story had been approved in the proposal stage, but when I turned in the complete, my editor asked me to make the hero's nephew his son. Though I understood this change would up the stakes and the emotion of the story, this was a huge undertaking. I lost the last three chapters of the story with the black moment, crisis, climax and had to make countless changes throughout. At first I was pretty overwhelmed but I got at it. Figured out a new ending and when the book was revised, the story was far stronger. I've always found that my editors suggestions have improved my stories.

    Janet

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  37. Early on when I got my first revision letter, I didn't know what a term meant and had to ask a more seasoned writer to define it. I felt green. Green is natural. If you don't understand, ask.

    Janet

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  38. Tina! You outdid yourself on this post. Excellent content! I wish I had read it right after my last revise resubmit letter. I shared it with my crit partners only after locking myself in my room for a day to absorb the sting. But I did the right thing by not replying to the editor to let her know my plan to resubmit until well after the shock had worn off. After telling her I would resubmit, it took a whole rewrite to address all the "structural" changes she suggested. So, essentially I wrote that book twice. It's so refreshing to see that a lot of the published authors that contribute to this blog have been through similar situations.

    I'm still waiting to hear back from the editor on my revised manuscript, but when I hear back, I know what to do now.

    Thank you, Tina, for putting this together. And thank you to everyone else who contributed snippets of their revision letters. I feel like I've lived through my first big initiation process toward getting published.

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  39. Tina! You outdid yourself on this post. Excellent content! I wish I had read it right after my last revise resubmit letter. I shared it with my crit partners only after locking myself in my room for a day to absorb the sting. But I did the right thing by not replying to the editor to let her know my plan to resubmit until well after the shock had worn off. After telling her I would resubmit, it took a whole rewrite to address all the "structural" changes she suggested. So, essentially I wrote that book twice. It's so refreshing to see that a lot of the published authors that contribute to this blog have been through similar situations.

    I'm still waiting to hear back from the editor on my revised manuscript, but when I hear back, I know what to do now.

    Thank you, Tina, for putting this together. And thank you to everyone else who contributed snippets of their revision letters. I feel like I've lived through my first big initiation process toward getting published.

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  40. Kathy Bailey! Hey, but for Debby Giusti. I did the same thing.

    Now go get 'em Tiger.

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  41. Tina, so much meat in this post! I'll have to print this out. This is great! You were so specific and helpful. Have you offered a workshop at ACFW before?

    Revisions...ahhh... The word fills me with--happiness? Excitement? Dread? :) Seriously, though, each time critique partners have suggested something that needed revised, the result's been a better manuscript. Now, that doesn't mean I've incorporated all changes. If it's something that whittles out my voice, I'll put a story aside, chew on it a while, and rethink the suggestions. Plot threads or other problems are one thing. Altering my style/brand is something else. My stories are set in the Ozarks. To speak, act, or imbue other characteristics contrary to my brand would result in stilted dialogue, etc. and would be obviously apparent to anyone who knows me, and probably to the reader, as well.

    Revisions from an editor would, of course, be a different story (forgive the pun), and I'm so glad you shed light on what to consider when the time comes. Thank you! SO informative!

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  42. Hang in there, LeAnne, Those revisions will in general apply to all your work from this point on.

    Had that happen to me. Lost editors in the submission process. Lost two lines. Sigh.

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  43. Me too, Myra. And for those who fret about trees. I do save my manuscript paper and print on both sides. I am frugal.

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  44. Same with me, Janet. I actually emailed Cindy Kirk and she suggested how to attack my first unpublished revision letter.

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  45. You know, Cynthia. I've done the in person workshop thing. I made Mary Connealy pinky swear to tie me to a tree if I ever do something stupid again. I do not well in a live classroom.

    To answer, LeAnne. No, not doing a class online either.

    I need to write. Not getting any younger.

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  46. Yes, Renee, it's good to know what lies behind the shrouded veil. No mysteries, actually.

    Come on, when you read some of those REAL editor clips, don't they sound a lot like a crit partner?

    Which is why I say I don't need one. I HAVE THE BEST ONE.

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  47. Great post!

    Here's my 2 cents: While revision letters aren't 'tests' as such, they will have an effect on how the editor views the author. My first book was purchased without revisions. For my second book, I had to take out an integral story line. I basically had to deconstruct the story, and rebuild the plot. In six weeks. Which is actually a really long time, but didn't feel like a long time in the moment. My relationship with my editor changed after that. She trusted me to take instruction and make the hard choices. My contract terms improved, my wait times improved, and my overall career improved.

    I have to admit that I pick my battles. Very rarely do I have a conflict with an edit, and if I do have a conflict, I offer a solution. Authors who fight every edit and word choice aren't at the top of the list for special projects. So if you *want* to be involved in special projects, and you *want* to write more books a year, but the offers aren't coming in--I'd start take a look at how edits are handled.

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  48. Tina, I'm amazing at how similar our processes are!! I do the exact same thing (except for cutting apart the individual notes). I highlight, translate to how I intend to address the issue, then check them off as I accomplish them (doing the simplest first).

    Did y'all notice the similarities in how many people say put away the notes for a few days to let it sink in. I do exactly that. I ruminate for a couple of days before starting and jot down notes as they come to me.

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  49. I've also found that sometimes you can figure out what problem the editor is wanting to fix, and then maybe come up with another solution that fits your voice better. Often, just analyzing the editor's comment to find the root problem makes solving it easier.

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  50. Exactly, Missy. The first 24 hours you tend to be on the defense. Once you get on the offense you can pretty much knock off half the list with a tweak. Then the rest may take some brain calisthenics, but I am stunned by how I can take her suggestions and either run with them or find something even better. The creative flow isn't stopped.

    Here is the wording my editor used to suggest a scene: "How fun would this be?" Well, when I thought of it from her point of view, using those words, well it did make sense.

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  51. JANET! "Green is Natural!" Thank Goodness!!!

    I just got an "Again Very Good" from my editor!! That was a miracle in and of itself!!

    Then I read his comments, & he is actually pushing me harder & harder with each book. (translation-- He was a lot tougher & pickier & stronger with his comments!) At least he was nice at first! :)

    I LOVE a GOOD CHALLENGE, & I don't want anyone to go easy on me. But now I have tons more work to do!

    But--- I think I will print out that "Again Very Good" & put it on my refrigerator! :)

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  52. Ha, Jana.

    And you are right (write). We writers like to be challenged to grow.

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  53. Great article and advise Tina One of the best things is your advice to save the original and rename the revisions. Yep, wish I had done that my first time. LOL. Good reminder now that I'm getting revisions back. Whew.

    Love the letters. But at least they are asking for revisions and not plain out rejecting. Yay. Always look at the bright side. Right?

    Thanks again for the great tips.

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  54. Wow, Tina! What a thorough and well-thought-out post. Thank you! This is why we love Seekerville. Real help.

    My edits seemed truly intimidating at first glance. But once I really picked them apart and dove in, it wasn't bad and definitely worth the effort. I'm still amazed and grateful at the opportunity to learn from a real, live, New York City editor! :-)

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  55. Ruthy I love how you are looking at the revisions from Melissa Endlich. I have found that all my editors improved my manuscript with their insight and experience. I have always loved editors and doing revisions.

    Actually, truth be known, I much prefer revising than creating the first draft. Must be the left brain emphasis in me. LOL It is so much easier than thinking up new stuff and worrying about whether it has a gmc.

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  56. Tina, this is the first time I've read a blog post about revisions!! Wow! Did you nail it or what?! I filed away several tips in my overflowing brain, but I'm saving this to reread and reread and reread. Excellent advice!

    Please throw my name in the recycled box for the RWA finalists' books. I've already read A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Hunter and LOVED it.

    Have a great day!

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  57. Mary You are too funny. Of course Ruthy used the B word because she is so right.

    Yay Tina!!! B Tina.

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  58. Tina, I desperately needed this post today! WOW! Everyone's right: this is a fab workshop in a blog post, and I'm saving it. <3

    Working on revisions now. Mine came within the manuscript in Word's comments feature, with a few track changes. I've been given freedom to figure out how to make some changes, which is a gift. I'm excited about the revisions, because I know they will make the book better! But of course, I'm intimidated. This is an amazing learning opportunity and my hope is that it will help me write future books differently. (By differently, I mean BETTER.)

    I'm glad to see that I'm already doing a few things you suggested, like creating an outtakes file (I call mine "cuts") and renaming & saving new drafts so I can tell them apart and find things that I liked pre-revisions, in case I can use them somehow.

    Thank you for sharing--Tina and everyone else! You've really helped me today!

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  59. Oh, this is good!! I learned to decipher my rejection letters over the years, too. The form rejection was easy (this book sucks!), but the detailed rejections helped me grow the most. I appreciate editor's revision requests. They make my books better!

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  60. TINA, that's why I. Love. Novels. Written. By. This. Group. Of. Writers. Have I told you lately that YOU ROCK. ALL OF YOU!
    You work hard and play hard. What more can I say? Thank you. Yes, I'd love my name to be put in the draw.

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  61. This is an aspect of writing at which I have basically zero experience, and it was really helpful to see what to expect in the future. Thank you thank you for including examples from revision letters. It takes some of the fear factor out when I can see how nice the editors are about complimenting the work as is and then suggesting changes. Unless you've simply hid the not-nice ones from our eyes?

    I would gladly have my name tossed in the recycled box. Thanks!

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  62. GREAT post, Tina. I haven't received revision letters, but I've received the other R letters. The first read through was painful and disappointing. But, a day later, I was able to see the good in that letter. The gracious ways the person shared their thoughts and the suggestions offered were very helpful. And hopeful.

    Still waiting for my first Revision letter. :)

    I LOVE all the tips offered, the perspective and the suggestions for the mindset I should have if/when I receive that Revision letter. :)

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  63. ROF, LOL!!!! Mary, it's a different "B" word!

    Who knew?????

    I think we tackle revisions the way our brains work. Mine is analytical and action/reaction based.

    AND METHODICAL.

    Sounds boring, doesn't it?????

    I need to stop sounding boring!

    Pass the chocolate.

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  64. Excellent blog, Tina. You have so much great advice in here, and I think maybe the best news for new writers is that we all have revisions at some point no matter how many books we've written.

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  65. I've gotten one R&R letter on my one lonely finished manuscript that is actual book length. (I knew it was an R&R because of my lurking around Seekerville) The editor was spot on with her comments, like "I felt you got lost somewhere in the middle." Uh, yeah... that's because I was. So see? Editors DO know!

    I haven't really worked on the manuscript because what is needed is a HUGE overhaul and changing a lot. Keep the premise, but basically re-write it. My brain at the time of the revision letter was already fried from writing the book in less than two months time. Now? I'm not sure to re-visit it or work on something new. I'm at a struggle point in life on how to justify time to write or to perhaps continue my learning path and save the writing for a better suited time in my personal life.

    At least I did get some excellent advice and confirmation that yes... I can write and someone will be interested in what the people in my head are doing.

    Thanks TINA! You ladies of Seekerville are my heroes for all the wisdom you are so generous to share with little peeps like me.

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  66. I find when the letter first comes my first reaction is "WAIT!I CAN'T DO THAT! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE ASKING! THE SKY IS LITERALLY FALLING!" And then a day or two later: "Oh, I know how to make that work. This will totally make the story better." But yes, lots of chocolate iS required in the interim. :) Thanks for the great ideas on bringing it together. I'll have to save this post for later...hopefully much later. ;)

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  67. You re very welcome, Sandra.

    I occasionally learn from my mistakes.

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  68. Agreed, Meghan. I was really wowed at how they saw the BIG picture. Years of experience does that, right?

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  69. Can't wait to get to this point! GREAT information for a plan of attack. Thanks Tina!

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  70. Barbara you are entered in. We always skirt around this topic. It was time to dive in.

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  71. Susie Dietz, congratulations on your sale to Love Inspired. Not your first sale, since your novella just came out, but sweet all the same.

    We are LI sisters now. Woooot!!

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  72. LOL on the form rejection letter, Jill.

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  73. Thanks, Marianne, and you are in the draw.

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  74. Rachael K, the unknown about publishing is what is scary. Nope, no mean letters to hide. It's a relationship and it's a two way street.

    I think this is a topic that we don't discuss because basically we all fear we're the one with the heaviest revision letters. But we all get them. Light and heavy. That's part of the job.

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  75. You will Jeanne, and you might want to have someone review your R letters. They may be Revision letters hiding.

    I thought I was experienced in revision letters as an unpub and I missed the boat. Thank you, Debby Giusti.

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  76. Linda Goodnight, thanks for stopping by and yes, I agree, revision is not a dirty word.

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  77. DebH, if it's any consolation, I did have one proposal I had a revision request on. At the time I did not feel able to make those revisions. I had worked on that proposal for the editor twice. This would be the third time and I felt unqualified to get the book where she wanted it. I felt that I was too inexperienced.

    I wasn't mad or upset. Those were the facts. So I requested to submit something else. I did, and it sold right away.

    It happens.

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  78. Angela, you bring up anther good point. I mean accidentally. Your Chicken Little reminded me of RUE. Resist the urge to explain.

    I had to learn that if it wasn't clear to an editor it would not be clear to the reader.

    And basically RUE issues are usually quick fixes.

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  79. You know where to find it, Sharee. And I'm betting it won't be too much later. You're an excellent writer.

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  80. I love this post, Tina!

    All of this makes perfect sense and makes my stomach knot up.

    Great advice if you're unpublished to write the editor if she'd like to see the revised version. The worst she could say is no.

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  81. Exactly, Connie. WHY NOT, RIGHT???

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  82. I always appreciate seeing what writers go through! As a reader, it makes me love you writers even more! You all rock! Thanks so much for your fantastic books!

    Please put my name in the drawing :)

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  83. This is all awesomeness. One of those posts that I'll have to return to again just to soak up all it's wisdom!

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  84. Thanks, Valri. You are in the drawing.

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  85. Just know where you can find it when you need it, Megan.

    I know you have a ticket off unpubbed island as well. Any day now.

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  86. Tina, WOW, what a wealth of information! I'll keep it for future reference. When you offered your self-editing class, I printed out all the lessons. These were extremely helpful as I was editing this past week. Thank you!

    I'll be checking the store tomorrow for your WW story. Thanks for letting me know when the issues are in stores.

    Please put my name in the recycle box! Thanks!

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  87. Thanks, Sherida. And praying for a successes next step for all you Manuscript Matchmakers!!!!

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  88. This post makes me (a reader) appreciate all you great writers MORE......all the hard work and determination! Please put my name in the recycle box! Thanks!

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  89. Wow! What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing so many examples, Tina. Hopefully, I can use the excellent advice contained in this blog post and finally turn one of my revision requests into a first sale call story.

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  90. Great post Tina.

    And your timing is excellent, since I just finished my most recent revisions yesterday!

    In case you're wondering, that comment was dripping with sarcasm!

    I've grown to love revisions. Really. The idea that someone who knows something took the time to read my manuscript and tell me how to fix the things that are wrong is awesome. Just awesome.

    And when I'm done, the story is so much better. Thank you, editors!

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  91. Jan Drexler, I heartily agree.... And I might whine when they first come in, but once I move beyond the hissy fit, I dig in and polish because it's part of the job.

    And I want my stories to touch those hurting hearts... and tip people into smiles they didn't expect.

    Waving from the editing desk of The Ruthinator!!!!

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  92. So emotional! Ruthy, who has a knife???
    Well done to all of you writers for sticking to it and blessing everyone with your refined (and revised) stories!

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  93. I am now wondering why anyone would whine while having their pants down.

    :(

    Very disturbing

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  94. My very favorite revision request was for Over the Edge, when the abandoned wife finds her runaway husband and she is a tough Texas cowgirl and killing mad.

    Editorial request. "We think Callie should stop daydreaming, thinking of or threatening to kill Seth by Chapter Six."

    They were sooooooo right. But she was sooooooooo mad.

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  95. Great post with lots of good instruction, Tina. I will have to save it for when I get to that stage. So far the only experience I have with revisions is with short stories and those have just been very minor, like the story I sent to a Christian publication that centered around a school carnival. The publication didn't like the word carnival and called to ask if I minded if they changed it to festival. That was pretty easy!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  96. Great post that's packed with wonderful tips! Thanks, Tina!

    My editor always gets it right! I rely on her suggestions that inevitably improve my story! I'm grateful for her help.

    Yes, yes, yes to your mention that rejection letters are often revision letters. Editors wouldn't waste time on work that doesn't have promise! Don't cry...instead revise and resubmit!

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  97. Hey Jessica Baugh. Prayers for MM!!!!

    Jackie~! Your name is in.

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  98. Rhonda, you too are so close you are ready to make the leap. Any day now.

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  99. hahaha Jan Drexler. Well glad they are D.O.N.E.

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  100. Editorial request. "We think Callie should stop daydreaming, thinking of or threatening to kill Seth by Chapter Six."

    Love the sense of humor here, Connealy.

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  101. Nice revision Sandy Smith!!!! You are in the draw.

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  102. WOW, Miss T! This is a LOT of super helpful info. (with some chuckles added here and there, LOL) - - thank you!
    I've read it (and re-read certain parts) and this is going into my Keeper File.
    Several years ago there was a very kind Bethany House Editor who offered revision suggestions for my one and only historical - - I was SO appreciative that she took the time to do that. Sadly she's no longer with Bethany House, but I've never forgotten her kindness AND the tips she offered. :)

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  103. Yes, yes, yes to your mention that rejection letters are often revision letters. Editors wouldn't waste time on work that doesn't have promise! Don't cry...instead revise and resubmit!


    Amen Debby Giusti. I owe you, big time.

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  104. Thank you for this, TINA! Such an incredible amount of information! My experience with revisions has been primarily limited to my newspaper stories (the first time there was so much red ink on the page I thought the editor had cut herself) so I'm actually looking forward to getting a chance to do requested revisions for my fiction.

    In the meantime, I have several files with stuff I've cut from my first novel, but instead of naming them something normal, like OUTTAKES, I called them AXED, WHAT WAS I THINKING? and REALLY???!!! The complete manuscript is saved under FOND, FRUITLESS WISHES. Seriously, LOL.

    Btw, I loved the captions under the photos. Was the show Dragnet?

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  105. Laura! The first person to actually read that. YES. DRAGNET. You win a surprise prize by default. Way to go.

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  106. Oh, Patti Jo. I missed your posting. So sorry. Brain fry. A generous editor she was indeed (that was spoken in Jedi.)

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  107. Tina, Thank you for this. I have my printed out copy (see I remember your class!) and I was in the car today revising chapter 17, and I wish I had read this before the car ride. Right now my outtakes file from this WIP alone is 200 pages from all five of my different drafts. My only advice to add to all of this is to make sure the previous versions are all backed up (says the person who lost outtake files from previous books because they weren't backed up).

    Thank you so much for the advice, the wisdom, and the great tips. I am revising the last few chapters, and next week is the final read through before I start rewriting my next book.

    Love this post. Thank you so much.

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  108. Tina thank you for your helpful post. I'm going back to reread it. I like the suggestion about outtakes. That will make it much easier to take unnecessary scenes out which is something that had me dragging my feet.

    I also appreciate the guidelines about making the duplicate file and new file.

    Okay I'm off to be productive. :-)

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  109. Glad it will help you, Tanya. May the force be with you, Miss Diva!

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  110. It's so psychological Barb. If I have a place to put a scene and know I am not really abandoning it, I am okay, but if I just wantonly cut it, I am terrified.

    I can psych myself out and remind myself..you have the original copy. It's okay, breathe.

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  111. 2.5 pages! Oh for a revision letter of that length! My first one was twelve pages and my second one was seven (though, ironically enough, it was the seven pager that required completely ripping out the original plot and replacing it with an entirely new one after I finally worked out what the heck I was writing AFTER I turned the manuscript in. *Sigh*)

    I agree with everyone, put it to one side and allow it time to seep in and process a little. I also remind myself that my editor is on my team and wants my book to be the best possible book that it can be (even though in the moment I really don't feel like doing all the work to make it happen!)

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  112. Tina, you certainly have a way with words. Great column and such good information. I need to revise a 5000 word mystery today. Your information is so valuable and noteworthy, it will help guide me. Another keeper. Thanks for a great blog today.

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  113. Thank you, Tina, for the prayers! :)

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  114. Wow, it takes a lot to get to your finished book! I learn something everyday here at Seekerville!

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  115. Awesome post! Love your 24 hour rule!!!! I love reading these great tips. If I ever have a hankering to start writing, I'm going to go to all the great Seekerville archives. I'm saving this one too!

    If I'm not too late, please throw my name in the hat for the giveaway. Thanks!

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  116. This is a great post, Tina, and I immediately saved it in One Note. Thanks so much! Then I went to Amazon to look for Rita finalists because I agree--we should read finalists! I did find some in other categories, but not the Golden Heart finalists, listed below. (Who wouldn't immediately want to read "For the Love of Termites"?)

    Anyway, I couldn't find any of them! I know this isn't related to revisions, but does anyone here know why? Are Golden Heart books not published yet?

    Here's the list posted on the Rita site linked at the end of the post, books I couldn't find on Amazon.

    Inspirational Romance
    “For the Love of Termites” by Kimberly MacCarron

    “One More Breath” by Pamela Kopfler

    “Scottish Warrior” by Laura Stormier

    Thanks again for the great post - and for the link to Rita finalists! :)

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  117. I teach writing to my students who also happen to be children. :-) What a great post. The stack of rejection letters is a great reminder to keep going with so many things in life. I really enjoyed the quotes from authors. I love hearing author's stories. (especially since I recognized most of them.

    would love to win
    Becky

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  118. Dana those are GH yes. They are the unpublished.

    Here is the RITA LIST:

    A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade
    Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
    Charlene Patterson and Raela Schoenherr, editors


    Mistletoe Justice by Carol J. Post
    Harlequin, Love Inspired Suspense
    Rachel Burkot, editor


    The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes
    HarperCollins, Zondervan
    Becky Phillpot, editor


    A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter
    Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
    Raela Schoenherr, editor


    The Rescued by Marta Perry
    Penguin Random House, Berkley
    Ellen Edwards, editor

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  119. Thanks, Tina! I guess I'll have to wait for "Love of Termites". LOL

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  120. You are in Annie S. Just Commonly!~!!

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  121. Suzanne Baginskie!! Thanks for the kind words and good luck with your revisions.

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  122. This is really good info. Thanks for sharing, Tina.

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  123. Tina, I'm a day late reading, but I love this post! Not to mention I needed it.

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