It was a few weeks back, when I was in NY for the MWA-NY panel, that I sat down to lunch and read something that would help me through my editorial revisions over the past week and a half.
It’s weird how these things tumble into your lap and you’d swear the universe sent you exactly what you needed to face the next big hurdle.
I was reading the January edition of Writer’s Digest. Specifically, the Editor’s Letter. Jessica Strawser had an amazing quote from Jo Jo Moyes that framed the entire edition.
“Every time I start a book, I think, I have no idea how I did this last time.”
After I finished reading my editor’s notes on Six Train’s sequel, that was exactly how I felt. It paralyzed me. I had no clue how to fix the story. Because my editor doesn’t tell me what to do, she tells me what she sees on the page and what isn’t working. But she gives me the freedom to come up with a solution.
I absolutely love her for it. But when I begin, I freak out and fear I will muck it up even more. Part of the process requires me doubting everything I did, so I can see it from her perspective. (90-95% of the time she is right.)
A bad head cold meant I wasn’t in the best place to start. I gave myself a couple days. But I could feel my panic growing. If I didn’t dive in soon, I wouldn’t be able to.
So I coaxed myself into working on the first chapter. A toe in the pool of revision.
Since then, I’ve been tackling 20 pages of the book a day and doing massive rewrites. Entire scenes added. Chapters moved around. Character arcs changed. And I’m at page 150 of what is currently a 463 page novel. Because yes, I added 30 pages last week.
But I’m entering the part where I know I am going to be cutting entire chapters. They aren’t needed because so much was moved forward. This is the week I hope/pray to cut 10K words.
Even if I don’t know how I did it last time, I dive in and somehow as I go, I figure it out for this story.
How do you approach revisions? Do you have a set method that works for all your books? Or do you have to find your way through each one?