I’d like to think that all writers have gone through this.
They write a book. (hah! I made that sound dead easy. It’s not.) And they read it through, they redraft, they tweak and when they think it’s as perfect as they can make it, they send it in to their publisher.
(Please note, I have NO IDEA why you might need a golden pineapple when writing a book. But perhaps that’s where I am going wrong)
The joy of finishing a book, of writing, The End, is a very special feeling. You have spent weeks, months with these characters. You have tortured them, you have stuck obstacles in the way of their happiness until finally you give them their Happy Ever After. You’re thrilled that the boy has got the girl and the girl has got the boy. Result!
And then, just as you’ve already embarked with another set of characters, to send them on their journey of happiness (torture), your email pings and there’s the dreaded revision letter for the last book.
I positively DREAM of one day sending in a book that needs no revisions. It has been done! (not by me, but others have)
And it turns out that the book that you thought was as perfect as you could get it, needs help. Your editor likes it very much, but they think you can strengthen certain aspects, or they think you need to rethink a certain aspect of a character’s backstory and the most common note, I think we all get is, DIG DEEPER. (If I had a pound for every time I have DUG DEEPER, I would be a rich person)
So you pull your hair out, rant and rage and tell yourself that your editor thinks you’re useless (you’re not. That’s just the process) and then once you’ve had time to let the revisions marinade in your head, you get to work. There are many ways to tackle revisions. Do the little changes first and then the big ones. Or just start at Chapter One and make them as you work your way through (my preferred method)
And then finally you resubmit the manuscript, believing it is all over. Your editor will say WE LOVE IT and issue payment for that book.
Or, in my last case, they tell you that the revisions haven’t worked at all and actually they’ve had a rethink themselves and think that the story needs a vast overhaul.
You know The Scream by Edvard Munch? Well, that was me, recently. Rewrite the entire thing? Aaaargh! All that work! All those hours, days, weeks spent creating that world, those characters, all for nothing?
It was hard. I might even have had a little cry about it. But I put on my Big Girl hat and my Wonder Woman pants (thanks, Annie O’Neil) gritted my teeth and got on with it and you know what? I rewrote that entire book in eight days. EIGHT DAYS! My family barely remembered who I was. All they knew was that there was some weird woman upstairs, with bad hair, muttering to herself, that could be kept under control with copious amounts of tea.
But I did it. I rewrote the book and sent it back in. And STILL there were more revisions, a third set came back!
Even though I’d already written twelve other books and thought I knew what I was doing, i totally screwed that one up! But, as I said on Facebook, the last time this happened to me was when I wrote A Father this Christmas, my third title and that book had FIVE sets of revisions and is now my best seller.
So, I’m hoping no more revisions ping back into my inbox. At the moment, the book is with my editor. AGAIN. Fingers crossed, it gets accepted.
And if it doesn’t? Well, I’m just hoping I have another best seller about to hit the shelves!
Louisa Heaton’s latest book (that didn’t require copious rewrites) is Saving The Single Dad Doc! Available from all good bookstores.