Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writing Wednesdays: What I Love (And Hate) About Revising

So Pitch Wars is in three weeks, and I've been revising my butt off ever since I got editorial notes from my fabulous mentor, Jessie Humphries (Jessie's second novel comes out on October 28, so everyone go congratulate her! And if you live near Vegas, she's having an amazing launch party on the 18th - I wish I could go!). Jessie's notes were great - she loved the novel overall but had a few complaints/suggestions that I kind of already knew I needed to work on. This was the kick in the pants that finally convinced me to make those changes.

I'm not gonna lie, it was rough these past couple weeks. Jack is only in school from 9-1, and with all the Jewish holidays in the fall he's been home A LOT. Plus I've got Will 24/7, John working full-time, and there was that trip to Disney World in the middle of it all. Fortunately John gave me at least an hour every evening last week to work, and I devoted all of Monday (like 8 hours) to finishing. And I'm happy to say, it's done! Well, at least for now. Hopefully Jessie likes the changes and I don't have too much more to do before the deadline on November 1.

A few novels back, I hated revising. In fact, the first few novels I wrote were probably shelved prematurely because I didn't really know how to revise. Then I joined Peggy Eddleman's revision group back in 2011 (!) and learned to embrace the process. After that, I've spent at least six months revising every novel I write. Considering it usually takes two or three months to write the first draft, that's a lot of time spent revising. But now I kind of love seeing my novels improve and develop during the process. I rely on notes from my betas and beloved CP, plus taking some time away from the novel and re-reading it usually brings a lot into focus. And now I have my wonderful writer's group, Pronouns Matter, to give me even more insight. I love that we all write different genres - the feedback is so helpful.

What don't I love about revising? Well, it's time consuming, for one thing. You don't get that same first-draft high where you're just getting all your ideas down on paper. I did a round of revisions for an agent this summer that focused on the writing itself, but most of Jessie's changes were plot-related. And changing one plot thread can have repercussions throughout the manuscript you might not even realize at first.

But despite the tedious nature of the whole thing, I'm happy with how this revision turned out, and I know my manuscript is better for it. Here's hoping all the hard work pays off!


Jocelyn Rish said...

Glad to hear you've made such great progress!

Since I write all my first drafts during Nano, they are always a complete mess and need tons of time spent on revision. I actually like revising. Often I think it's easier to fix something that's already there rather than create out of thin air. :-)

Peggy Eddleman said...

NaNoReviMo! Ahh. Those were the days. :D

And congrats on getting Jessie for your mentor! You are going to kill these revisions!

I really really love revising, because of how polished and pretty it makes an ugly manuscript. I think it's my favorite part!

Jessie Humphries said...

I love this post! It's been on my to do list to read it for a few days :) You're a rockstar, Mara. Your book is amazing and this polishing is going to pay off BIG TIME! xoxo