Oh, my do we have a special post today! In addition to polling other new-ish authors about their revision processes, Laurie London is finally able to share her debut book cover. I pray for a cover half as good as this when I finally debut! Read on for a great lecture, RU crew.
To continue the Hero’s Journey analogy on the path to publication, eventually you move into the initiation portion of the trip, also known as Death and Rebirth. After being scrutinized by your editor and copy editor (sometimes multiple times), your old manuscript dies and a new one emerges.
I had prepared myself for the worst—a revision letter of epic proportions with changes on every page. However, knowing my editor already loved BONDED BY BLOOD gave me some peace of mind, and I was excited to make the story better. Turns out the worst didn’t happen. I didn’t get a revision letter—just a lovely, albeit epic, phone chat with my editor followed by marked up manuscript pages. She pointed out areas that were either confusing or needed a little something more and why. With comments to get me thinking, she left it up to me to figure out how to fix them, and I got to work.
Just before the first love scene, my cheeks began to heat up. Did she think it was too dramatic, too over-the-top, too, you know, much? I took a deep breath and flipped the page. Turns out she only had a few minor suggestions that made the scene much better. I was so relieved that I wanted to light a cigarette when I finished. Unfortunately, I don’t smoke.
Since I’m in the middle of the copy edit/line edit phase right now, it’s hard to get a decent perspective on the rest of the process for you, so I thought it’d be fun to hear from some other newish authors about a big or interesting change to a story that happened as a result of editorial revisions. Here’s what they had to say:
Delilah Marvelle While finishing up THE PERFECT SCANDAL, I copy and pasted something I shouldn’t have while doing my revisions. I found that I couldn’t recover the last 50 pages I wrote and had only two weeks to deadline. Once I was done freaking out, I hunkered down and rewrote the pages. The story went in a completely different direction. It is so much stronger. Losing those 50 pages turned out to be the best thing to have ever happened to me and the story.
Elisabeth Naughton During the copy edit phase for ENTWINED, I found a paragraph that was totally redundant and didn’t need to be there. I contacted the CE and asked to have it deleted. Unfortunately, deleting that entire paragraph would have thrown off the layout for the next ten or so pages so they told me I couldn’t ditch it. They did, however, let me rephrase the paragraph so long as the number of lines matched that of the previous paragraph. I still don’t think the new paragraph was needed, but reworded it didn’t contradict earlier info in the book, so I guess you could say it worked. I don’t think anyone else will ever be able to spot that one glaring paragraph, but I will always know where it is like a giant red flag saying “You don’t need me!”
Jessa Slade In 2007, I entered my urban fantasy romance in an RWA contest with three chapters finished. I won; the final-round editor requested the complete; and I was terrified. I knew the full had to be good AND fast. Well, it was semi-fast and good-ish. The editor asked me to revise and resubmit. Right. Faster and gooder. I wrote the next version…And got The Call! And then I did a half dozen more revisions before SEDUCED BY SHADOWS came out in 2009. My editor saw potential — not perfection. To uphold my end of the dream-come-true, with every book I try to be faster and gooder.
Stephanie Draven In POISONED KISSES, my editor asked me to cut more than ten thousand words from the book in order to make room for a bonus story. It was a mad challenge and I thought it might kill me, but I did it by tightening the manuscript. Every extraneous word, phrase, or paragraph had to go. The end result killed many of my darlings, but left me with a very tight book and I was actually thrilled with the final result. It was a lesson to me!
Vicky Dreiling My editorial revisions for HOW TO MARRY A DUKE involved ramping up the hero’s bad boy qualities. Not only did this escalate the conflict between the hero and heroine, but his risqué teasing really made his characterization pop on the page. Believe it or not, this did not mean completely recreating his character. For example, his back story remained the same. Also, he still retained some very honorable qualities, and those are the ones that convinced the heroine to take a risk on him.
Here’s mine: In BONDED BY BLOOD, my editor wanted to see an emotional turning-point play out on the page rather than happen off-screen. I was actually prepared for this possibility because when I originally wrote the story, my critique partner had suggested the same thing. At the time, I balked and convinced myself it wasn’t necessary. Looking back, I see I was avoiding something that would be difficult to write. With Kleenex in hand, I dug deep, made the change, and ended up with an emotional new scene that made me cry. Yes, it was hard, but the story is much stronger.
RU Crew, what other questions do you have about the revision process? Laurie will pop in today to chat so be sure to pick her brain and congratulate her on this amazing book cover!
Be sure to come by tomorrow when Jessica Barksdale Inclan talks about creative blocks and how to jump over them through different writing techniques!
A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London now writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, BONDED BY BLOOD, A Sweetblood Novel, is tentatively scheduled for publication February 2011 by HQN. EMBRACED BY BLOOD, the second book in the series, is coming July 2011.
Her writing has won and been a finalist in several prestigious contests including the Beacon, the Emerald City Opener, the Marlene, and the Orange Rose.
She’s a member of GSRWA, RWA, RWAOnline, SCBWI, and two book clubs – one of which she helps coordinate live online author chats with readers from around the world.
When not writing, she can be found running, reading, or riding and showing her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.
- A Debut Author’s Journey with Laurie London: From the Call to Revisions
- Laurie London, Debut Author of Bonded by Blood
- The Revision Process: Unpublished to Published with Sarah M. Anderson
- A Debut Author’s Journey with Laurie London: Sold! But first…
- The Best Way to Edit, by Tracy Sumner