Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Revision Process

Step One: Receive letter. Restart heart. Do Happy Snoopy Dance around living room. Begin phone calls to everyone you know.

Step Two: Practice sounding cool, yet excited, when “The Call” comes. Visualize cover. Write RITA acceptance speech. Fax revision letter to critique partner.

Step Three: Brainstorm exciting wardrobe possibilities for RITA award ceremony. Re-read revision letter and start to panic. Call CP instead to deconstruct editor’s word choices and obsess over possible underlying messages.

Step Four: Open computer file. Re-read deathless prose and wonder how you’ll be able to improve upon it. Close file. Re-write RITA speech and practice signature for first book signing.

Step Five: Open file. Begin slashing everything the editor said had to go. Realize you’re left with 45 usable pages. Go lie down in dark room until nausea passes.

Step Six: Brainstorm ideas for revisions. Realize they all suck. Call emergency meeting at Starbuck’s with writing friends to brainstorm other ideas. After coming down from sugar/caffeine high, realize those all suck too. Decide you need new group of friends, ahem…fresh perspective.

Step Seven: Begin work on pages 1-45. Replace all weak verbs with stronger, more colorful, choices. Give hero ability to cock one eyebrow. Give heroine a cat.

Step Eight: Realize that only netted three new pages and that you’re now totally screwed. Wonder if you can get old day job back.

Step Nine: Begin writing—something, anything, just do something other than stare at that stupid blinking cursor. You’re not getting any younger, you know.

Step Ten: Realize that you may just be on to something. These new pages aren’t so bad after all. Begin to take chances. Discover characters’ true motivations. Find your groove.

Step Eleven: Get giddy and excited. Decide to wear red to RITA ceremony.

Step Twelve: Realize pages 1-48 are now totally wrong and have to be rewritten.

Step Thirteen: Realize that’s not the end of the world. Sometimes you have to know the ending to write the beginning anyway, right?

Step Fourteen: Polish, proof, print, post. Panic. Obsess with CP over whether you’ve done the right things. Whether you’ve done enough. Decide she’s probably lying to you, but try believe her anyway. Cross fingers.

Step Fifteen: Stalk the mailman. Check caller ID for tell-tale area codes. Wonder if the cat was a bad idea after all…

Step Sixteen: It’s hard to say what step sixteen might be this time. Rejection? More revisions? A contract? But y’all will be one of the first to know—if I ever get there, of course. I’m finishing up 13 and closing in on early parts of 14 right now. But I’m hopeful. Happy. Cautiously optimistic about the quality of what’s happening with this rewrite.

And that's what's important, right?



Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

What's up with step 6??

Lynn Raye Harris said...

LOL! Love the steps, especially the RITA speech and what you'll wear. :)

Angel said...

Breathe. Just breathe.

You are so crazy, girl! I can just see you judiciously practicing each of these steps. And who says our ideas need Fresh Perspective anyway? Better watch it!


Kira Sinclair - AKA Instigator said...

LOL This is hilarious. And so true.

Don't second guess yourself though! You know your story and your characters and you're a wonderful writer. They're going to love the revised version.


Anonymous said...

Believe in yourself and it will all work out --- breathe.

Terri Osburn said...

Goodness, if what you revised is as good as this list, you're golden. LOL!

I'll third the just breathe advice and will add I have all possible appendages crossed for you. Oh, and I'm thinking about wearing red to the RITA ceremony too. Though, of course, no speech necessary for me. :)

Problem Child said...

Y'all are assuming I meant *you* in Step Six... of course not.

I've found the problem with Step Seven, though. It would be far more interesting to give the Heroine the eyebrow ability and give the cat to the Hero.

Mark said...

sigh...if I only could be at step 1

Playground Monitor said...

Sorry I'm late to the party. I was fielding a phone call from a friend who got a bad comment on a message board. See? There's always something worse than your situation.

Was I there for step 6? Or was that one of the times I had to miss?

You look divine in red. Great choice!

I'm still working toward step 1 too. Actually, I'm working for step -5.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Mark on this one. Would L O V E to be at Step One. Maybe someday!
You're going to look back at this later and wonder why you were even worried. And you will look terrific in that red dress.
Sherry W.

Anonymous said...

Yay!! Congrats on getting it done and in the mail...and I bet you'll look great in red. ;)

Katherine Bone said...

I love your lists!

Believe in yourself, PC. You've got "it." And very soon an editor will get "it."

You're over a VERY big hurdle already. You've got a great CP, wonderful friends and awesome talent. A successful combination that the universe cannot ignore.

Rhonda Nelson said...

**Go lie down in dark room until nausea passes.**

I go through this one every time I turn in a book. :-)

You're too funny! You're a WONDERFUL writer! I am certain that your story rocks. (And you *do* look great in red. :-)

MJFredrick said...

Oh, good luck!!! What a great list ;)