Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What to do when editor comments don't help...

or don't make sense!

I recently got a revision letter from my editor. I thought she wanted the entire ending of my book changed. So when I sent her a little tiddy about how I planned to accomplish that, she called and said...NO! I only wanted tweaks.


How could two people who have worked together so long miss the mark completely?

I don't know. :) But taking what she said to me in our phone conversation and mixing it with the revision letter, the revision still felt like more than tweaks to me.

So what did I do?

Well, as always, I read the book the whole way through, trying to get a feel for what she was thinking...what she was seeing...what she wanted the book to be like in the end.

I realized she wanted two things, so I went in and marked all the places that would be affected by the two things she wanted. (You can use post-its to do this...or colored markers. I used colored markers.)

Then I saved the electronic copy of the manuscript under a new name...Revisions April 30. So that I would still have a copy of the original version in my computer in case I made a mistake.

Then one by one I scrolled to those pink and yellow marked places and made some changes.

Every morning when I opened the document I'd read what I'd done the day before so I'd see what was there and what wasn't. (What I'd deleted and what I'd added!)

When I got to the black moment, which needed the most changing, I created a storyboard not just to "see" what I had to that point, but also looking for a hook in to the plot, something original  [or obvious] that I could use to springboard the black moment.

I wrote the new black moment and today I'll read over the "ending"...the last chapter, the epilogue.

But to get back to my point...Sometimes you can't always "get" what your editor wants done from her letter. Sometimes you have to go into the book and actually "look" for what she means. My editor's comments related to the heroine and the ending and once I started reading I did see what she meant. Though it took some thinking and analyzing. LOL

It's not easy working with someone else on a creative project. We all have a "vision" for what we want and sometimes the editor gets a vision that doesn't match yours!

But a little creative thinking on your part...reading the book with her letter at your side...as well as an open mind [I can't stress open mind enough! :D ] can result in you figuring things out!

Have a happy Tuesday...Sorry I missed Monday, but revisions really do take all my focus! :)



Leigh Duncan said...

That's a great plan for dealing with revisions, Susan!

Susan said...

Thanks, Leigh!

If nothing else, I'm an organized writer. :)


Julia Broadbooks said...

I try to be organized, with charts and storyboards, but I do find that going through and changing one story element throughout the book can be overwhelming. I am so worried I'll miss something.

I'll have to try your method!

Susan said...


That's when I use a colored marker. I go through the whole manuscript and mark every place that "one thing" appears and then once they are all marked, I go back and change them.

Of course, you have to read the ms through to make sure the changes you made blend!

Lots of work to be done when revising!