Thirteen what??

by Diana

First off, I apologize for not posting on my scheduled day last week. There was something of a perfect storm of distractions, including a holiday, a broken down vehicle, and manuscript revisions.

The last one is the biggie, and is what’s had me working a fairly solid sixteen hours a day for the past couple of weeks.

I’ll say this–my editor is an awesome goddess. Editor Goddess read through the manuscript I turned in to her for Blood of the Demon, then read it again (and possibly even read through it a third time) and in due course sent my manuscript back to me with line edits, notes, markups, and comments. Along with the manuscript came a letter with explanations of her comments and notes, as well as more detailed exposition of the areas where she had issues and what she wanted to see me work on in the revision. The letter for this book was thirteen pages–single spaced. However, the Editor Goddess knows what the hell she’s talking about. There wasn’t a single suggestion or comment that would have changed the basic story or characters. What she did point out were places where I’d tried to gloss over details, or where the character interactions fell flat, or where my timeline didn’t make sense (uh, yeah, was I smoking crack?) She didn’t let me get away with any sort of laziness, and forced me to get to know my characters better than I’d ever thought possible.

So, I figured I’d share with y’all the process I used and the stages I went through in the revisions of this novel:

1) Open FedEx package. Pull out manuscript and enclosed letter. See that the letter is thirteen pages long. Single spaced. THIRTEEN! Whimper. Set manuscript aside and read letter. Cry. Read letter again. Resist urge to cry again. Grudgingly accept that editor knows what the hell she’s talking about. See the very short turnaround time requested. Cry.

2)Put my big girl panties on and get to work

3)Rename a copy of my manuscript with “revising” at the end of the filename. Go through the marked-up manuscript and enter the line edits into the new file. (I know that many of these line edits might be cut when I start rewriting, but this is the easiest way for me to re-read the book and go through and see what my editor said in her notes.) Using a different color pencil, make my own notes as I go along. Be amazed at how a couple of months away from the book gives a different perspective.

3)Once all the line edits are done, start from the beginning again and begin to address some of the issues raised in notes. Start with the issues that merely require rewriting of existing scenes. Make notes on separate sheet for issues that are going to require a lot more work. Make other notes for the timeline (which I now see has some major problems. Seriously, how did I screw this up so badly?)

4)Go through the chapters and create a calendar. Start looking at the Big Issues. Glumly accept that I have to write at least two new chapters and a number of new scenes. Make notes on the calendar to detail what needs to go where. Figure out where new stuff needs to go. Start writing the smaller scenes.

5) Write the new chapters. Hate them. Rewrite the new chapters.

6) Make a list of remaining issues/things that still need to be written/rewritten. Start chipping away at them and crossing them off as I complete them. Do a wordcount. Whimper at the realization that I’ve added almost ten thousand words to the manuscript.

7) Start reading through from the beginning, fixing remaining issues as I go. Decide that it definitely sucks less than when I received it.

8 ) Read through it one more time.

9) Send it back to Editor Goddess. Wait for the second round of revisions.

10) Reintroduce myself to my family.


I’m actually at #8 right now. I’m hoping I can get to #9 by the end of the weekend. I’ll let y’all know how #10 goes.

2 Responses to “Thirteen what??”

  1. 1 amcatoir
    July 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    “I’m actually at #8 right now. I’m hoping I can get to #9 by the end of the weekend. I’ll let y’all know how #10 goes.”

    That was great! Good Luck.

  2. July 13, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Speaking as one who is completely annoyed by books that apparently aren’t edited at all, I really appreciate the effort.

    I read three books this weekend. Of the three, one had a character leaving a building being driven by the assistant of the chief high muckety muck and arriving at her destination (the very next paragraph) in a cab. Really? Did the assistant have bad breath? Did he “put the moves on her” so that she was so insulted she jumped out of his car and hailed a cab? You would think that something like that would be described in the book. Nope, must be a mistake in the writing/editing process.

    The second was delightfully free of obvious errors (though lacking in that little something we will call “Plot development”), and the third one? The third one was the kicker. About a quarter of the way in, we were introduced to two minor characters – one was military, one was a student. About half way through, the names of the two characters were exchanged. About 3/4 of the way through, they switched back again.

    Highly annoying, and completely ruined what was otherwise a good book. What was the editor responsible for that thinking? For that matter, what was the AUTHOR thinking??? Couldn’t she, I don’t know… have a piece of paper with all of the characters’ names on it???

    For the record, books #1 and #3 were by well established, best selling authors. Do authors eventually get so “big” that their books are not edited? Do they not care that they are aggrivating their readers??? Readers who paid hard cover prices for those two volumes?????

    Sorry, rant over. Just pushed a hot button, that is all…

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