Monday, October 5, 2015

What I Did This Summer (Revision Edition)

Notebook and laptop and tea—the revision arsenal!
So I know summer has technically been over for quite awhile now, but seeing as it's only juuuuuuuust now starting to cool off here in Mordor the land of eternal fire Arizona, I present to you: What I Did This Summer (Revision Edition).

The revision notebook! Totally worth $12.
In the beginning of April I signed with my amazing agent (who may-or-may-not-be-but-probably-is a wizard), and I spent much of the remaining part of the month brainstorming and wool-gathering and otherwise hen-scratching in a brand new notebook. Once I had a new story structure figured out and had it approved, it was time to embark on The Biggest Rewrite Ever.

I wrote and re-wrote the beginning approximately eight billion times (at least it felt like that many). I experimented writing in first person to connect more with my MC. I finally gained enough forward momentum to write the first fifty pages and send them off to my agent for approval. I got the green light and kept going.

Revision requires
It was so hard and so rewarding at the same time. I got to write brand new scenes that are now some of my favorites of all time. I struggled with structure and pacing, because I'd moved a major midway-point event up towards the beginning. I wrote a lot of panicked emails and texts to my CP, as well as sending her each part of the novel when I finished it.

Everything was slowly beginning to take shape. I was seeing glimmers of magic. Three-quarters of the way through I realized I'd left myself an enormous gift in one of my new early scenes that could massively impact the ending. It was sooooooooo cool, you guys. I mean it would have been more brilliant if I'd actually done it on purpose, but shhhh it'll be our little secret.

I finished the entire draft and sent the rest to my CP. She came back with very insightful notes, and I worked through each one of those. She was super mean and made me re-write my climax…………… whiiiiiich turned out to be a super good idea, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE it now. Totally worth the work. :-)

Hubs and I were up north in Prescott when I was rewriting my climax.
He brought me snacks because he's awesome.
Then I sent the shiny new manuscript off to two fantastic agency sisters, who read and critiqued it for me quite brilliantly. I gathered and digested their notes, and gave my pacing a hard think. I put my novel up on the wall and stared at it for a while, then started rearranging and condensing and FIGURING IT OUT.

Before the manuscript surgery!! Each card represents a scene.
The blue and green and pink are all for one POV (I didn't have enough of just one color). 
During the surgery. Cards over on the left are deleted scenes. 
After everything was rearranged and stitched back together!

I went through the novel again, rewriting scenes, making the rearranged parts work where I'd put them, condensing more, killing someone (I literally did this to solve one of my problems…… 0_o ).

THEN it went to my agent, who hadn't read it since its original queried incarnation.

Just a brief side note here to say that I'm fascinated and pleased that through all this revision, the story itself didn't really change—it just became a better, more honed version of what it was always meant to be. I think that's really cool.

Anyway, after that my agent did a tight line-edit (we won't talk about my embarrassing overuse of certain phrases), I rewrote a couple of small scenes, and it was DONE. Phew!!

Working on Line Edits!
And that's how I kept out of trouble (and mostly out of the hot hot sun!!) all summer. :-)


Virginia said...

Woohoo! So happy for you having finished it and shipped it off. Love seeing someone else's revision process up close. Thanks for sharing!

Jenna said...

You are crazy awesome! I am terrified and excited to someday reach this point. When I do, I'll read back over your posts for sanity ;)

Joanna Ruth Meyer said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Virginia!

Joanna Ruth Meyer said...

Aw thanks, Jenna! :)