So, today was a pretty amazing day: several of my friends received fantastic news (most of which I am still waiting to scream about and dying to see the announcement), and I got some exciting news myself, eeeeee!!! Same as everything else in the publishing industry (as I have come to learn), I can’t say anything about it yet. But I hope to announce some exciting things sometime soon-ish! (Read: “soon-ish” in publishing ranges anytime between one week to six months.)
Another reason why it was an amazing day? I got to speak with my editor! She truly is brilliant. We spoke on the phone for over an hour (well, mostly me prattling on and on until my throat hurt) over my edit letter, and now I have a pretty (very) solid plan of attack for the first round of revisions.
So for those interested in following me as I figure out this crazy, wild journey to my debut, *pats seat* I’ll be giving updates here!
Today’s topic will be centered around revisions.
Happy smile upon receipt of edit letter, in full bedhead mode! And … the entire manuscript … hand-written with my editor’s in-line notes. *screaming*
Guys, I was so, so excited to dive into revisions. When all my friends/fellow debuts around me started tweeting about their revisions hell, I was still waiting and waiting and waiting for my editorial letter to arrive. I couldn’t wait to dive back in to this world and use my editor’s guidance to make Blood Heir a better, stronger, and all-around fantastic book.
I honestly think another reason I couldn’t wait to dive in is because it’ll give me two options to work on in terms of book stuff: my drafting of Blood Heir II (still searching for a title — recommendations welcome) or my revisions of Blood Heir. I have a workaholic spirit, which V. E. Schwab (one of my idols) stated perfectly in a recent Tweet:
I have the feeling nowadays that if I’m not at work, then I should be writing, and if I’m not writing, then I should be doing something else productive. I’m afraid that if I don’t spend every second of my life walking forward, then I am fading backward while everyone around me carries on. I know that isn’t how it should be, but I’m going to use this momentum to propel myself forward into drafting Blood Heir II and revising Blood Heir.
So, revisions. I got my edit letter exactly one week ago, and with extreme enthusiasm (because YAY I finally get to do something that feels official!), dove in and immediately got to work. As with all of my Things ever since childhood (or maybe high school), I find that the best way for me to approach anything requiring literary talent is to make an outline. Essays, short stories, previous novels … I would essentially jot down my points on paper, and begin to form more and more coherent and detailed points that would eventually group themselves (or I would group them) and turn into an outline.
This is what I did with Krista’s edit letter. In summary, Krista’s letter was a huge, 9-page single-spaced list of questions about my book that I had completely neglected to think about (either accidentally or on-purpose). And I had to get to answering all of those questions.
Krista had, very helpfully, already written it in sections that she’d grouped according to the category, so it was really easy to sort each paragraph into disparate topics and begin working on each. At first, I would try to answer each question and jot down all of my ramblings (some of which I sent to Krista — whoops!) into thoughts that became more and more fleshed-out and coherent. And once I nailed the concept to each of the questions, I would form a separate bullet point called Action Plan and write out how exactly I would fix it in my book.
The image below (obligatory blurring because spoilers!) gives you an idea of the breakdown. The black blurred part is a section of Krista’s original letter. The blue part consists of my ramblings/thought processes/research. (An aside: I went down some very deep research holes, including human trafficking and slavery in the shrimp industry in Thailand.) And the yellow highlighted portions are my action plans: the specific, concrete things I need to change in my manuscript.
This took the majority of my time; probably a combined total of 6 hours of work. For most of the past week, I’d get home from work at around 6-7PM, make a quick dinner, and dive straight into these. I often (as my friends know) have nighttime calls for work with my clients in Asia, so there are always, always interruptions to what is meant to be my personal time, but which I choose to spend working on my writing. My editor said she hoped I would be relaxing this weekend instead of working, and I replied, “I’ll be working on this — revisions — because that’s like relaxing to me!” It really is, and it makes me feel all the better that I get to spend my free time now working towards something I’ve always only dreamed of; I truly, honestly enjoy every second of it, even if there is some pain and blood.
Krista also sent me a very nice present: my entire manuscript, printed, single-sided and double-spaced, with her handwritten notes line-by-line. I took a peek at those and immediately flung it out the window–I mean, gently set it aside on my shelf, where it stares at me with increasingly ominous vibes. *dun dun dun*
Now, I have eight weeks to turn this baby in, and I fully plan on starting today. So excited to be going on this journey and figuring out what exactly a debut year is all about. Krista also mentioned two other cool things: 1) They are starting on my cover!!!!!!! *SCREECH* and 2) They are going to make a map of my world!!!!!!! Yes, I think both deserve a profuse amount of exclamation marks, because COVERS and MAPS, what else does a girl live for?!?! So … more news on that at some point soon-ish (again, read: “soon-ish” in publishing ranges anytime between one week to six months … or more).
If you stuck around ’til the end, thank you so much! And thanks for partaking in my journey as a debut author. Most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, but this blog has been super therapeutic in helping me figure it all out. So if you’ve been reading, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
P.S. I wrote this like, two weeks ago, but I forgot to post it sO IT’S KIND OF BACK-DATED BUT THAT’S OKAY, YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT.