Revisions or What the Ed Said

So, been examining the ed’s email in great depth and having a think about my story. There were a number of points that she pointed out were wrong and here are the main ones:

1. My conflict was too obvious, too early. I really needed to give hints of it, not reveal it so starkly.
2. My characters were…drum roll please…too self aware! Which is always a besetting sin of mine. I did a post about characters being too self aware actually and was quite relieved to note that I’d done it in February – at least a month after sending this partial, so I have progressed!
3. My characters thought too much about the past. They fell into old patterns and the romance didn’t feel like something new and exciting.
4. The setup didn’t work.

However, they did say there were some lovely moments and that my character consistency was better.

So there you have it. More bad than good really but at least they gave me some suggestions about how to fix it. I admit to feeling quite daunted about this – at least every time I read that email I do! But in the past couple of days I’ve been discussing suggestions for fixes with various people and now I think I have a plan of attack. Going to post more about it as I go because I got some other feedback about lack of goals that has been hugely helpful too.

Anyway, bottom line is I’m going to nail this, by jingo!!

24 thoughts on “Revisions or What the Ed Said”

  1. It’s daunting to get editorial feedback sometimes, isn’t it? With my Blaze that’s subbed at Harlequin now, I went through something similar. I had a lot of things I needed to fix and at first, thinking about all of them was overwhelming. But I took my time and let the suggested revisions sink in until I knew how to proceed. I resubbed the partial and got a full request, so hopefully I’m closer to being on the right track.

    I know you’re going to nail these revisions, Jackie! You want this so badly and there’s nothing perseverance can’t conquer. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. πŸ˜‰

  2. Cari – glad I’m not the only one! Yes, I’ve had a couple of days to process this and think about what the ed has pointed out. The conflict stuff is probably the easiest to pull back on because I can just take it out – or at least make it more subtle.
    I bet you are on the right track! And you’re right about perseverance! I haven’t spent the last six months just sitting on my hands – I’ve been learning. I can make this better and I will. I’m sure when you get your news, it’ll be good too!

  3. Why hasn’t someone invented a metronome for writers? Something to set the pace, measure out adequate amounts of characterisation, conflict, backstory…

    I guess we’ll have to continue relying on the mind (intellect) body (gut instinct) and soul (that special spark that makes the story your own).

    I love that you’ve set yourself up to succeed by assessing the task ahead and proceeding with courage and enthusiasm. Mostly, I’m in awe that you’re willing to share all this on a Sun! Aren’t we supposed to be taking the day off !!??

  4. Janette – yes! Remember JCVD!

    Veronica – I sense a gap in the market. You could invent one? I’d buy it! Thanks for your lovely comment, btw. I’ve got the courage now, may not come send time. πŸ™‚ And as to the Sunday – I’m escaping a noisy kids birthday party. hehe.

  5. I love the way you take the critique on the chin and just get on with it. A very important trait required in writers. I am sure that you will nail it…if not this time…soon.

    Good job.

  6. Hugs Jackie. Daunting but great guidance, I am certain you will crack it. I laughed because when the lovely Michelle started mentoring me last year the hero being ‘too self aware’ thing was my biggie. Oops. I think it is a hard nettle to grasp. Good luck and enjoy getting busy with it again. j

  7. Go for it girl! We are all keeping our fingers crosed for you. You’ve had some good comments from the editor so at least you know you’re moving forward with it and progressing – well done.

    Best of luck with it

    Julie

  8. Great news that you’ve heard back Jackie, and that they’re talking revisions.

    And yes, revisions are daunting (I’ve had a ten-page revision letter once.. Ouch!!) But now that you’ve looked at it carefully and started brainstorming ideas to fix it, you’ll begin to feel less despondent and more enthusiastic.

    My suggestion, don’t think about all you’ve got to do at this stage (or you’ll freak out… believe me I know).And don’t put too much pressure on yourself (yes it would be fantastic if you crack it to their satisfaction this time, but if not there will be other ms, or possibly more tweaks on this one).

    Just take it one step at a time, think up new scenes to better tease out your conflict. Restructure your narrative if necessary. Slash and burn anything that is working against what you want to achieve (and be ruthless there). And then once you’ve been through your ms a couple of times, and done all the major rewriting, go back and start adding in the finesse, the freshness, etc.

    I think the toughest thing about revisions is not getting bored with your characters and your plot. You’ve done this already, how do you work up the enthusiasm to do it all over again, but from a newer, fresher angle…? It’s bloody hard, it feels like swimming thru treacle.

    But remember, you can do it. You have the talent (and we know this cos they’ve told you as much), the endurance and the desire to beat this thing into shape…

    Good luck.

  9. Felicity – thanks! It does get tiring being philosophical about it but there really isn’t any other way is there? Onwards and upwards.

    Kerrin – I hope so! Lots of lovely support like you guys give certainly helps. πŸ™‚

    Judy – I am the queen of self awareness. It’s proving a difficult habit to break!

    Caroline – I will! Lol.

    Julie – thanks! The eds comments were great. The progress sometimes feels glacial but I guess it’s forward – at least, I hope so!

    Heidi – thanks for your encouragement. And great advice. I have rewritten this ms twice now and yeah, I can see becoming bored with the characters could be a problem. So far it’s not – more like sculpting something out of stone – you know the good stuff is in there, you just have to keep cutting. But, having written a bit over the weekend, it felt very laboured ’cause I was thinking too much, so definitely I need to stop worrying too much about what I have to do. That’s what editing is for yes?
    Yup, lots of cutting and altering will need to occur. Going to rewrite most of it because I find it easier that way. We’ll see what happens anyway.
    It really is an endurance course isn’t it? I was always so much better at sprinting… Sigh.

  10. Totally knackered having just come back from Romancing The West where I stayed up far too late chatting to fabulous writing friends, I’m buggered but just wanted to pop in here with a show of support.

    Lots of great advice here… especially Heidi’s I reckon about taking things on bit at a time!

    HUGS!! And GO FORTH AND CONQUER!!!!

  11. You’re very welcome Jackie for the advice, for what it’s worth.

    I know you already know this, but I wanted to add, don’t forget we’ve all been there (some of us countless times LOL!). I’ve never had a single book go thru without revisions. Some have needed a major overhaul (and I mean major), some only a few tweaks (actually I think that’s only one, but who’s counting right!!), but the good news is every single book was a lot stronger as a result of the editorial input and the extra work I put in… And it’s the harder books that I really believe have helped me grow as a writer.

    So it’s all good really. Honest.

    Heidi x

  12. I’m with Heidi on the ‘don’t think about how much you’ve got to do’ business. It’s like climbing a mountain. One step at a time, working in careful increments, and don’t start measuring the distance still to cover.

    On my third revisions to that Tudor partial, I’m having to revisit early emails and notes in order to revive my first enthusiasm for the project, lol.

    Don’t know if you can do the same, but trying to recall how you felt initially about the story – perhaps before you even started writing it – may help if your enthusiasm starts to flag. Not saying it will, maybe you’re all fired up right now. But just in case, that’s a strategy to bear in mind …

    Good luck!!

  13. Sally – thanks m’dear! A cheer helps immeasurably.

    Lacey – Thanks too!

    Rach – jealous! How many times have I told you that? Lol! I hope to conquer! Or at least reclaim a bit of territory. πŸ™‚

    Heidi – thanks once again for your advice. Much appreciated. Yep, it’s all good stuff. The ms will be a better story for it, I can see it already. I just hope I can do it – I really want to show them I CAN revise. It’s obviously a skill that’s vital if you want to sell. Ah well, can only get stuck in I guess!

    Suzanne – thanks for the faith!

    Jane – that’s so true. I love the climbing analogy – as you probalby know. I’ve been climbing ‘Everest’ for a while now. πŸ™‚ But it’s funny, having a plan of attack has made me all excited about the ms now. I love being able to make things better!

    Sri – cheers! I shall! Hopefully. Seem to have a bit of an army behind me already. πŸ˜‰

  14. Jackie, the feedback at least sounded specific enough that you don’t have to guess what the editor meant. I can tell from your posts that you’ve learned a lot since you subbed that one. Some of the things mentioned you might have already highlighted yourself! You’re getting there and I’m glad to hear you have a plan of attack to sink your teeth into!

  15. Kaily – yup, she did mention all the stuff I’d pretty much decided was wrong. Plus some stuff I didn’t but I realise NOW what was wrong.
    Interestingly, none of the mss that I’ve got now have these problems. At least, I don’t THINK they do…;-)

  16. Ten pages, Heidi? I salute you!

    Jackie, as you know, I’ve never had anything go through without a rewrite and in my last revision letter (5 pages, which seemed quite scary) there wasn’t a lot of good going on.

    I love what you said about carving stone because that’s exactly what it was like. It was a matter of finding the real masterpiece (She uses the term in reference to her own MS loosely…ahem) beneath all the stuff that it’s bogged down in.

    You can do it!

    (word verification is phoos…a friend of hoo’s?)

  17. Maisey – yeah, you certainly rocked those revisions, girl! I just hope I can do mine like yours. But it is like carving eh? Wish I was a better sculptor!
    Lol re the word verification!!

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