Saturday, April 30, 2011

Toppling off the edge of the world

Back to Revisions

Writing a historical fiction novel has been quite a journey. Just to figure out how to begin the book took two months of research. To begin writing it in earnest took two years of research. At about 150 pages, it needed so much work, I rewrote the entire thing from 3rd person to 1st person POV.

At about 250 pages, when I was just about to give up, declaring it a worthless piece of garbage, I won second prize in the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association's literary contest. That gave me hope, which came at the time it was most needed.

Like magic.

I finished the manuscript, but then I bought the book, "Manuscript Makeover" and spent three months editing it. Then another month of stressing out about the query letter, writing and revising it until I wanted to toss my computer into a funeral pyre.

To send out the first query letter took two hours of hovering over the "send" button, and two fingers of brandy.

Luckily, I got some very good feedback and rewrote the book again, changing the ending, changing some of the personalities of the characters, adding in a "ticking clock." A few months later, the revision was done and I found some Beta Readers. That led to a few more revisions and then back to the query process.

Again, some very helpful feedback, which means another entire revision. At first I thought, "Oh wow, that should actually be pretty easy."

Maybe it is just me, but is any revision easy? I've struggled for two days and have only written two scenes, which have each become their own chapters. Today, I forced my poor mother into sitting with me for two and a half hours, while I revised the first new 799 word scene.

Good thing she still has to love me.

Wish me luck. It is another major revision. If I squint, I can almost see the other side. I hope I'm not just going to fall off the edge of the world.


  1. It will be perfect when it is done with all this polishing! Hugs to you and don't give up!!! :O)

  2. Diane,

    Thanks. I'm excited about it, but I'm also terrified of it.

  3. The rewrites are what separates the wheat from the chaff. Have faith in your ability, listen to advice but only follow it if it feels right.

  4. Linda,

    It is my hope you'll do a blub on the book cover. You've been an inspiration because your books are so well researched, and so fabulous to read. :)

  5. Congrats on the award! That's fabulous. Revisions are always, always, always an adventure. I'm in the midst of a major one right now, but it's turning out to be way more fun than I expected. My first draft ended up too short, so I'm having to go back and add quite a few scenes. Great fun to revisit characters I thought I was finished with.

  6. K.M.

    Ah, yes, I'm beginning to see the advantage to adding in a chapter here and there. It allows for some awesome foreshadowing.

  7. Rewrites may not be fun, but they are most definitely worth it in the end. We've already come this far...
    Nice post! :)

  8. Kimberly,

    I'm actually beginning to enjoy this revision. Go figure.

  9. Good luck with your revisions! I love doing them. It's hard to start, but once you're deep in them, it's easy to finish. Good luck! :D

    Nice to *meet* you! ;)

  10. Chantele,

    One of my characters is named Sedgwick. I feel as though the relatives my characters are now leaving messages on my blog. Maybe I need a break.

    Nice to meet you, too.


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