Should revisions be scaring you senseless?

2 Apr

Well, are you a genius?

If your second answer is yes, then no, but if it’s no, then yes.

Probably, definitely, maybe.

In May 2011, I signed a 2-book deal for The Glimpse. When the infamous editorial letter arrived, (actually, I was lucky to have a short, 3-page letter and a face-to-face meeting), my editor highlighted a couple of ‘issues’ at the beginning and the end of the novel. Listening to her thoughts, I decided I didn’t want to do a patch up job. I wanted to totally rethink the two suggested zones. So I asked if she would be happy for me to rewrite these parts from scratch. She was.

70 sparkling new pages later there were changes which reverberated throughout the story; changes which required tweaking and adjusting everywhere; changes which scared and excited me in about equal measure. Was I nervous when I handed the edits in? Hell yes! I’d taken risks. I’d ‘gone’ places we hadn’t discussed at all. And I was relieved and ecstatic when my editor was ‘thrilled’ with the revisions.

The risk paid off.

Now I’m revising book 2. Book 2 is a very different experience. Because I’ve got under a year to write it and meanwhile, I have also got to fit in first book edits, (including copy edits and proof edits), and I know the book has been bought totally and solely on book 1, and what if they don’t like it at all?

Book 2 has to be handed in May 1st. In January,  I came out of the cupboard, closest, whatever, and asked an author friend for feedback on my rough draft.

When I got her notes, I panicked.

She put her finger on something I’d been kind of, sort of, maybe avoiding. And after a couple of days of lost sleep, I realised I would have to rewrite A LOT. Like almost everything.

The first 3 chapters could stay, the last 2 chapters would remain along the same lines, one or two from  the middle would make the cut, but the rest was in the bin. Did this scare me and then some? Oh yes. But now I’m coming to the end of the tunnel and I know I made the right decision.

Unless my editor hates it.

…I’ll let you know in May.

In the meantime, I say, take the risk.

If you’re curious about what it’s like to work on book 2, check out Candy Gourlay’s post : http://notesfromtheslushpile.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/what-i-learned-from-writing-my-second.html

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