Notes from the Revision Cave

Reminder: Over at Help Write Now, I’m donating a critique of the first 50 pages of a ms, a query critique, plus the chance to have a character–a girl accused of witchery–named after you in BORN WICKED. Proceeds go to benefit storm relief. You can bid here before it closes tonight!

I spent 10 hours yesterday revising. It’s difficult and deeply satisfying all at once. I know my book is getting better. But it is harder than I anticipated, doing such an intense edit. Typically 1000 new words a day is excellent progress for me, but with this deadline, I often need to knock out 3000. I can’t settle for revising one scene, I have to revise three. I’m learning a lot of discipline–which is good, since this is now my job and I hope to have many deadlines in the future. I’m learning how to trust my own intuition–though I still make The Playwright read each chapter as I finish it and confirm that it doesn’t suck. I spent hours yesterday trying to rearrange dialogue in a scene, make it work, and finally just rewrote it from scratch because it wasn’t serving the new emotional arc. There’s been lots of that. The new scenes are the same in that they involve the same characters, but the content is completely different. I’m in this place where the story is really all I can think about, where Steve will deliver a cup of tea and I thank him five minutes later because I’m so focused and oblivious to everything else. It’s a good place, but it’s intense–not a pace I can maintain for more than a few days at a time.

This draft is going so much deeper, thanks to my Amazing Editor’s notes. One of the things she asked me to do was to “ruffle my corsets,” i.e. add more historical detail. I’ve been researching 1890s fashion and decor. I’ve also been getting to know my secondary characters–the mysterious governess, the best friend turned suitor, the popular society girls–much better, what they want and why and what they know and when. Cate’s sisters, too, are coming into sharper focus, becoming strong characters in their own rights instead of just her sisters.

I love this book so much. I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

2 Responses

  1. I'm so glad you love this book, and I can't wait for you to be able to share it with us! I can't wait to fall in love with it.

    P.S. You deserve so many cookies and cupcakes and donuts for all that revising and dedication. Keep going!

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