This post, by Roni Loren, originally appeared on her Fiction Groupie blog on 6/17/11.
So this year I’ve been diligently working on the draft of the second book in my series, MELT INTO YOU. This one is tentatively scheduled to release sometime next summer, but the manuscript is due to my editor at the end of this month.
Well, I finished the draft a couple of weeks ago and sent it to Sara to get her feedback and to make sure I hadn’t suffered from the dreaded second book syndrome. *shudders* Luckily, Sara liked the book and only had a few changes she suggested.
A few. But one was a biggie. She suggested I cut the murder mystery subplot and replace it with something different. Not a huge change in word count, but a very significant change with regards to the story’s plot. Hence began my journey through the Stages of Revision Emotions.
Stage 1: Shock (You want me to change what?) or a "Dammit, that makes sense"
Okay, so in the list of revisions, there is usually one, maybe two, shockers. Your favorite scene needs to be cut or something you thought was vital gets the ax. But most of the time with Sara, her suggestions resonate with me in that "Damn, why didn’t I see that?" way. Or she picks out things that were niggling at me but that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. That’s the gift of having someone with an editorial eye. They can see things you can’t because you’re too close to it.
This is when you get excited. Things don’t look so hard or too bad. You just need to change A B and C and you’re golden. La dee da, I’m the kickass writer girl.
You actually sit down to make those seemingly innocuous changes and WHAM! you’ve just blasted your manuscript to swiss cheese. Plot holes are bleeding on your pages, threads with loose ends are flapping in the breeze, your characters have been flattened to road kill.
You’ve hit the denial phase. This can’t be done. If I make this change, I’ll have to rewrite the whole book from scratch. My agent/editor must be crazy to think I could change this. It’s impossible. I’m just going to leave it the way it is and turn it in. I am the writer, so I get the ultimate call on revisions anyway, right?