Clearly, I have gotten very, very bad at writing blog posts. I used to really enjoy doing it! It was my outlet, my way to blather on about whatever was on my mind. This blog, long before I published, was alternately a “writer's journey” blog, a travel blog, and a “she talks way too much about inane every day crap” kind of blog.
I've realized that I miss blogging regularly, but I also have to acknowledge to myself that I get pretty stretched thin sometimes. I also tend to feel that if I'm blogging, I'm supposed to be inspiring or profound or whatever. I think that comes from having gone on this pretty amazing journey from unpublished to published, and feeling like I'm supposed to help others feel inspired or motivated where I can.
But I got an email from someone recently who thanked me for the posts I've done on this blog (she even went and read the old ones, which I found amazing!) because they showed her my progression as a writer. So, that's the answer really. That's why I'm supposed to blog more frequently. It's about progression and getting to know each other. I'll blather senselessly, sometimes it'll be really good take-that-to-the-bank info, but mostly it'll be whatever is on my mind at the time.
And if you get something out of it, great. If you don't, I hope you won't be too upset with me. 🙂
Today's blathering is about revisions and editors and the relief you feel when your editor explains the revision letter to you. Because I got a revision letter earlier this week, and I was confused. I always expect them, of course, because nothing is perfect when you first turn it in unless you're Nora maybe.
But this time the revisions seemed more extensive than they have for the last few books, and I was stumped. What did I do wrong? How did I get it so messed up? Was this a total rewrite?
My editor could sense the crisis brewing and helpfully called to chat. That's when she realized I was about to meltdown and I realized that she hadn't said the first thing about rewriting the whole book. No, what I'd done was short-changed some of the emotional stuff for the sake of plot. (But you're a pantser, I hear you cry! Yes, it's true, but I can let the plot get in the way as I make stuff up. Which is what I did.)
I have a bodyguard book, which is apparently a classic Presents trope. I did not realize that actually. But I'd gotten a bit caught up with the mechanics of the bodyguarding and the heroine's job (it's a cool job, believe me, and one my hero has to protect her for) and it seems as if I'd let those things get in the way of true emotional connection. I didn't think I'd done that, because there is emotion on the page — but it's not deep enough.
So my task now is to go back in and pull out the elements that are overshadowing the characters, and then to turn up the emotion to boil. I'm really looking forward to it — and so relieved it's not a total rewrite. I may be a pantser, but I usually get a pretty good story arc by the end that doesn't require major shifting. Thankfully, this isn't a major shift, but it's still work.
The lesson here, if you're looking for one, is something I've said before: your words aren't static. You have to be willing to change them. And it's not the words so much as the story. Spending hours and hours taking out all the ‘was' words, or getting rid of ‘was' + ‘ing' constructions, is insane. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking STORY.
If you have any questions about what that is, go read this amazing post by Epic Black Car.
That is all. 😉
Except for this: right now, The Prince's Royal Concubine is really cheap at Amazon! $2.17 on Kindle and $2.28 in paperback. No idea how long that will last, so go check it out if you want a copy!
Oh…that all sounds SO familiar…
It’s hard because WE feel the emotion. Really, really deeply.
But you know you can do it, the MS will be stronger and at the end of it, you’ll be SO happy with what you have!!
I *love* bodyguards BTW, so sign me up for this one. Really. Seriously.
That’s exactly what my editor said, Maisey! That often authors felt the emotion and thought they were putting it on the page when in fact they’ve held back a bit. I think I know why with this particular book too.
Yes, I am always happy with what she tells me I need to do — after I’ve done it, LOL. What would we do without our editors?! That’s why, as nifty as I think self-publishing on Kindle, etc, is, I still want that editorial expertise.
Oh I love this bodyguard hero. He’s so exotic and handsome. Mmmm. I’m going to have to start doing like you do and give my books personal titles that mean something to me — The Bodyguard & The Reformed Bad Girl. It’s long, but that’s it really. 😉
The story is the most important thing at the end of the day. I can forgive inelegant writing for a great story, but brilliant writing rarely makes up for lack of story.
And I’ll sign up to read The Bodyguard and the Reformed Bad Girl!
Julia, I agree! And that’s exactly what Epic says in his brilliant post. 🙂 Crossing fingers I get The Bodyguard & The Reformed Bad Girl right so you can read it someday!
Nice post. You SHOULD blog more often.
Also, thanks for the plug. PART TWO of The evil secret to ALL WRITING will go up soon.
Thanks. 🙂 I’m looking forward to Part Two! Part One was full of awesome.
Bah. I wrote that fast, and intentionally left things out, asking for a fight with Serious Literary Types — but no, they are all nancypants.
PART TWO will start getting deeper.
Oh boy, looking forward to that! As someone who writes romance novels, and who wrote a Master’s thesis on Virginia Woolf, I love the way the literary sort look down their nose at what I do. Will be interesting to see if they take you on. 🙂
You wrote a master’s thesis on Virginia Woolf? Excellent.
I just did a post on the pointless literary snobbiness and incoherence of Gertrude Stein’s “Sacred Emily” poem, which is a big mess. And not a hot mess, like Lindsey Lohan, or an entertaining fake-tan mess, like Snooki — just high-brow trash.
Yes, nobody truly understands what you’re trying to say with the stupid poem. No, that doesn’t make you a genius, especially when you write the word “Pale” on a single line about eight times in a row.