Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Benefits of a Clean Bathroom and The Joy of Revisions

Please note that the title of this post means two different topics and in no way are they correlated!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

First of all, who knew that scrubbing toilets and tubs could be so productive?

I cleaned the house yesterday afternoon and was finishing the bathroom in the evening. So I go to clean the toilet, move the magazines from the top and happen to glimpse what is on the bottom - People's Sexiest Man Alive issue from last year.

What the heck, I thought, I haven't had any luck finding the perfect man anywhere else, let's have a flip through.


Now I have to come up with a name. I thought of Luke but my heroine I've already named Lily. But may I just say how happy I am to have found this picture:

Ok. Now on to the joy of revisions, as I promised earlier to blog about it.

When I did my first round of edits for Samhain, it was mostly technical things like garbage words, taking out numbers and replacing them with the word, that sort of thing. Strengthening deep Point of View. Very general things. I'm waiting for the next round, which will get into the meat of the book. I've now taken that first level of edits and made it my polishing process. It's a wonderful guideline and if I do this sort of thing before sending full mss then it saves the editor - and me - a lot of time.

But my M&B revisions were a different story.

All in all there were probably 3+ pages of changes to make. When I read through the first time, I got a little overwhelmed, but the requesting editor made me feel really, really good. There was almost a page of comments pointing out all the things I did that were right. And she told me that while it seemed like a lot of work, it was really just building on the great story I already had.

Ok, I thought, this chick knows what she's doing. I decided to trust her - this is, after all, her job.

I started with the line edits, and some of the easiest fixed things, and just focussed on working my way through. I remember distinctly one point, where I had to delete about 10 lines. It was a cute bit of humour and I really, really liked it. It hurt to delete it out, but I did it, put the paragraphs back together and was...amazed. As cute as the teasing bit had been, by taking it out, suddenly I read it and it was sweet. Poignant, even. And I was just....wow.

I also realized that what sounds, on paper, to be a major change can be something as easy as changing body language and tags. Even with keeping most of the same dialogue in a scene, if you change HOW the hero says it, the way he holds his body or the look in his eyes, suddenly the whole tone changes. Very, very cool. At one point I had to make my hero stronger, so that HE was making the decision rather than the heroine. I left the essence of the dialogue, and switched who was saying it. It changed everything.

It was so much FUN being told exactly what to change, for the most part WHY, and then in doing it see my book become stronger. I was proud of this book before. Now, seeing some of the changes, I love it even more.

Finally, working with this particular editor was such a pleasure. When she got my full, she e-mailed to say thanks. She sent the revisions so quickly, and while telling me what to fix, explained WHY. She also took the time to say some very good things. She told me to e-mail her with any questions. I did have one, and she answered quickly and clearly. When I sent my ms back the next day, she e-mailed again to say that it had arrived safe and sound. For the most part the whole process was fast, but relatively stress free.

It's certainly something I learned from, and any time I do something new and learn from it I always feel like I've made progress.

OK - Last assignment - PLEASE help me come up with a hero name!


  1. Donna, that all sounds so great! I wish I were finding it that easy -- am having to change elements of my plot following my NWS report, and although I know *what* I need to change, I don't know how. It's really hard! Glad you found your hero :)

  2. Jude D4:56 p.m.

    Donna - I sometimes lurk on your blog and smile at your posts AND today huzzah! You too love Mr Desp Housewvs Mike Delfino (cue heart flutters aplenty).

    Name...name...one sprang to mind...Logan. Does he look like a Logan? Sometimes wierd things spring in my head - excuse me if it's a duff one but when I saw him I got excited and had to post.

    Jude D

  3. *sigh*

    Donna, dearest, you've got to start giving the names of the hunks.


    Remember, I live under a rock. I have no idea who the new and trendy Hollywood hotties are... :D

  4. JUDE. I LOVE LOGAN. I had already been thinking of a last name, and Logan fits in PERFECTLY!!!! BLESS YOU!

    *sends smooches*

    Kris, it's James Denton. The sexy housewives plumber. Things are coming together, people....

  5. Great stuff Donna! I love the garbage words bit too. I'm a big one for "So", I go through at the end and cut about about fifty in every book!

    The names and titles thingie has given me the heebie jeebies tho. My first ever attempt at a book - which nobody has seen! - had Luke and Lily as the hero and heroine and the book I have just finished was originally called "Second Chan ces".

    Insert Twilight Zone music here...

  6. See now Ally I see that as good Karma. Just like the revised title for my sub in Richmond. The initials? TBB. The initials of Trish's first sale and award winning book? TBB.

    Good karma, I tell you.

    One last thought. Am I going to have to change Lily now so I don't have 2 names that start with L?

  7. So....you like revision letters? I'll remember that next time I get one....

    I like Logan, too.