Last week, I finished writing and editing the third draft of my young adult dystopian novel The Renegade – Book Four of The Devil Particle Series. Woo Hoo! On Friday, I sent the manuscript to my editor Tim Storm.
Tim will work on the manuscript for two to three weeks and send it back to me with his comments. His review will include a chapter-by-chapter breakdown.
This breakdown will help me focus on what needs to be done in each chapter, making the revision process less overwhelming.
To me, the revision process is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that has a few pieces missing. I know other writers feel the same. For instance, here’s an interview of Ernest Hemingway where he discusses rewriting:
Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right. — Ernest Hemingway, The Paris Review Interview, 1956
That’s all it takes — getting the words right. Here are some more thoughts on editing:
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” — Elmore Leonard, Newsweek
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” — Mark Twain
And I love this one:
Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear. — Patricia Fuller
Neither of which I want to do!
As I was revising, there were hours or days when life got in the way, forcing me to set the manuscript aside. I had the same feeling of longing as when I read a really good book I can’t wait to get back to. I enjoy Jaelyn Bellamy’s story in The Renegade so much, I was eager to set life aside to finish it.
While I wait to receive Tim’s comments, I’m dusting off the manuscript of the first book, The Devil Particle, and revising it based on the changes I’ve made in the other three books. I’m so glad I’m waiting to publish this first book until all four books are finished. If I hadn’t waited, making these changes would have been impossible.
In addition to fixing any consistency errors in the first book, I’m thinking about changing the main character, Paul Salvage. For some reason, he isn’t as likeable as the protagonists in the last two books.
I’ve thought a lot about why I and those who have read drafts of The Devil Particle aren’t that crazy about Paul. I think it might be because he’s the older brother.
Throughout the first two books, Paul struggles to be as good and worthy as his younger brother, Asher. In our society, if you’re competing with an older sibling, that’s looked upon as heroic. However, if you’re competing against a younger sibling, that seems petty. So, I’m going to switch things up and make Paul the younger brother. We’ll see how that works.
I’ve come to the point in my writing career where I’ve learned to trust my feelings about a story. If there’s something that’s nagging me, that just doesn’t fit, I know it needs a change. I always hope it’s a minor change that doesn’t require much work, but I’m willing to make major changes if necessary. Hopefully, Tim won’t suggest any major changes in The Renegade. Then I’ll have even more reason to celebrate!
Check out my article for the Chicago Writers Association titled “Why You Need a Newsletter” and the follow-up article “How to Build Your Email List” which will be published within the next two weeks.
What’s happening in September:
I’m revising The Devil Particle (the first book in the series) and sending what I hope is the final draft to Tim Storm by the end of this month.
I’m also getting up earlier these days so I can finally tackle Tim Grahl’s Book Launch Course. My goal is to do an hour’s worth of marketing each day.
Yes. The rewriting is difficult, time-consuming, and essential. You have to fix what needs fixing, and you can’t know that until you think you’ve got it almost perfect.
I gave Tina mg two months ago and she hasn’t answered. I will see her in October. She is hosting a writing retreat in Illinois for her fifty authors from across the country. I’m going. I miss you. I’m lonely. Take care.
That writing retreat in Illinois sounds terrific. I’m so glad you’re going. Let me know all about it when you come back.
I call each revision I make “One step closer to perfection.” 🙂
Unreachable, of course, but it keeps me striving to improve every sentence.
I like that. When I was in a critique group, my goal was to give them a draft so perfect they would say it didn’t need any changes. Of course, that never happened, but there were less and less suggestions for changes. Progress!