Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fun With Revising

Ah, revisions. You never know what you'll find.

For example: "His head shook beneath her ear."

Um, huh? Come again? Did I REALLY write that? (Yes, actually I did, and I've been stymied ever since, wondering just what the heckadoodle I was thinking when I wrote that gem.)

Those nifty "What the heckadoodle" moments keep the drudgery of revising at bay. Revisions don't necessarily have to be a serious, something to not anticipate process. A healthy attitude towards the revisions process is the most helpful thing at your disposal.

Revision Tips

1. Keep your sense of humor close at hand. You never know when you're going to come across a gem like the one above. Laugh at yourself, even while you're shaking your head ruefully.

2. You're gonna find boo-boos, so don't beat yourself up about it. We all leave out words, misspell words, can think of a better way to say something, so take heart in your revisions. You don't really want an editor to read something like "His head shook under her ear". Do you?

3. I betcha even Nora Roberts revises. Okay, how much she does is up to debate and open to her personal interpretation of "revision", but I bet she sometimes leaves out words, too.

4. Yes, you need to take the time to at least read through your ms before you submit it. No, it's not your editor's job (if you're lucky enough to sell your ms) to fix YOUR boo-boos. From my own experience editing for my e-publisher, if your marvelous ms is riddled with misspellings, incorrect grammar, sloppy punctuation, haphazard formatting, I guarantee you the editor won't wade through the mess to find the pearl within.

5. Taking the time to make sure your ms is readable (by this I mean your spelling and grammar, etc is spot-on), the storyline flows, the arcs arc the way they should, the black moment is black enough, the HEA is happy enough... all this shows the editor you submit your work to that you have a professional attitude about your writing. A submission that doesn't require a decoder ring does win points, even if it's ultimately rejected.

6. Speaking of the dreaded "R" word...If you've received one where the editor actually takes the time to tell you what he/she thought could stand improvement in your writing, apply that to ALL your manuscripts. Keep track of what you've been told you need to improve, and improve it!

7. It doesn't do any good to dread your revisions. Yeah, they are dreadworthy, but try not to let the revisions know how much you dread them. Seems to make the revisions harder somehow, rather than easier, if you dread 'em. So stop it.

8. Keep a running list of the funnies you find in your mss. (Yanno, like the "His head shook beneath her ear.")


Robin Bayne said...

His head shook beneath her ear, so that she could hear the marbles in his head roll around.


Laura Hamby said...

Yeah! There you go, Robin. LOLOLOLOLOL. Poifect.