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I must say that I can’t understand why an unpublished writer wouldn’t consider making changes to their manuscript.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 When I was unpublished I would have done almost anything to sell, and I certainly had no problem with ripping apart my story and working with an editor to make my manuscript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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  1. Good luck with your revisions, Soraya.

    For me, sometimes I love them and sometimes I don't. But I always love the opportunity to make my story stronger. :-)

  2. Oh, I agree! They always make the story stronger but I often dislike doing them :)

  3. Thanks so much for this post Soraya. I'm unpub'd and at the start of changing my m/s from 1st person to 3rd person. It's a struggle and I keep wondering if it's worth it - but as you say, you can't ignore advice from editors. So thanks for making me remember that. I'll keep coming back for that advice everytime I doubt myself!

    Good luck with your revisions.


  4. Definitely a case of love and hate but there is something very satisfying in freeing a ms from extraneous words and cutting to the essence of a story.

    Having said that, I have been known to go to revisions with dragging feet and a gently resentful heart :)

  5. Soraya, love that cover!! And I agree totally. Revisions are our friend. Although sometimes it does hurt to take out our favourite parts, maybe elements that actually kicked the story off in our mind. There's nothing better than having an editor that really gets your voice and works with you to make the story the best it possibly can be.

  6. Making a good story great: appreciated.

  7. Sometimes they're painful, sometimes they're not -- but anything that makes a book stronger is a good thing!!

  8. Awesome Cover! Since I'm a reader, I just get to appreciate all the hard work that all of the authors and editors do.

  9. Soraya that cover is lovely!
    And revisions are the things that put a knot in your belly - but when they're done, it's so gratifying =)

  10. Soraya, revisions are a love/hate thing for me too. I usually have the big EEEEK moment when they arrive, when I think that's huge and how on earth am I going to do that!

    So I find the best thing for me to do is print them out, read them then put them aside for a while. When I go back to look the next day they don't seem nearly as daunting... well, usually! LOL

    But I do have to say that I've loved my editor's suggestions for making the stories stronger in every case so it's well worth the effort. And I guess I'd say to unpublished authors who are reluctant to make changes - keep a copy of your original ms intact, but give those revision suggestions a go! At the very least you'll be honing your craft and you never know, you might be thrilled with the end result!


  11. Soraya, I love revisions because they enhance my stories. I feel I get too close to my story to see the big picture so that's my editor's job. So far I'd say revisions have always improved my books.
    Sue MacKay

  12. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back!! I am having major "gulp" moments right now as I tackle my new revisions, but they'll be worth it, right??

    Head over to my blog to go in the draw to win a copy of my upcoming release, Rodeo Daddy. My author copies arrived yesterday!!

    Soraya xxoo

  13. I forgot to actually give you all the details of my blog! It's

    Soraya xxoo

  14. It makes such a difference if you have a strong trust relationship with your editor. I think I'd struggle a lot more believing the revs are truly making the book stronger if I didn't have that.

    And so for some people it must be such a battle keeping the faith...

    (PS: Awesome rodeo cover...)
    (PPS: No idea why Blogger won't recognise me today)