Sep 21, 2011
Love them or hate them, revisions are a major part of an author’s life. Unless of course you’re Nora Roberts, but I’m guessing even she has revisions!!
When I sold my first book to Harlequin Romance, it went through two rounds of revisions before finally selling a year after I’d first submitted it, and then there were plenty of “tweaks” after that. But it was well worth it, and I think it showed my editor that I was prepared to put in a whole lot of hard work to get my story right. I trust her judgement implicitly, and I also know that I need to be edited. My editor pushes me and squeezes the best from my writing, but of course I always find revisions terrifying when they first arrive.
Like this morning. I nervously checked my emails, knowing that I was going to receive them sometime this week. With my eyes half-shut to dull the pain, I saw the name I’d been waiting for and read the email … and let out a big sigh of relief that my editor liked the story. Then I played with my son and ate my breakfast before I downloaded the revision notes, because I was still scared about what I’d have to change. The story needs a lot of polishing, to really pull out the deep emotional conflict of my hero and heroine, but I know that it will make my story stronger. It will definitely make it a better, more emotional and compelling read once I’ve sent it back to her. And no doubt there will be some more smaller changes to be made to, but once again, it’ll be worth the blood, sweat and tears!
I must say that I can’t understand why an unpublished writer wouldn’t consider making changes to their manuscript. Every now and again, I chat to other writers at our Romance Writers of New Zealand conference or via email, and I find out they’ve had an editor contact them with suggested revisions for their manuscript. When I was unpublished I would have done almost anything to sell, and I certainly had no problem with ripping apart my story and working with an editor to make my manuscript saleable. Sometimes, it’s a matter of taking a step back from you work, and looking at the bigger picture. Sure, every word you delete will hurt, but if you want to sell a book, or even more important sustain a career as an author, revisions are as necessary as the writing process itself.
So how about you? Do you find revisions painful or invigorating, or something in between? And if you’re not published, would you have a problem with making changes to your manuscript if an editor asked you to?
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Soraya writes emotional love stories for Harlequin Romance (Mills & Boon Cherish in the UK).