Monday, August 06, 2007

Revision Letters

My friend Colleen Coble tells anyone who will listen that she LOVES revision letters.

I used to think she was crazy.

Then I got my first revision letter. I've been through a couple sets of revision letters with Canteen Dreams (October 2007 - Heartsong Presents) and the first with Deadly Exposure (June 2008 - Love Inspired Suspense). And I have to tell you that now, I really do look forward to them.

Okay, I look forward to them with fear and trembling. Knees knocking. Hands shaking. Heart racing. Is there anything of value in the book? Did the editor love it? Hate it? Decide it was still worth publishing? Ack!

What I have learned through working through revision and content letters, is that the editors truly want to make the book stronger. And if I'm willing to work and learn with them, then my writing will only get stronger. The book will be better constructed. And hopefully, the reader will enjoy the book without distractions of poor writing, plot sags, historical inaccuracies, etc.

The first letter I receive each time has been from the editor who purchased the book. It is a global letter that usually starts and ends with something that the editor liked. Then the rest of the letter is jammed with things to fix. Some are global like the character isn't believeable in XYZ way. Or the plot sags here. The letter also will have pages of particulars to fix. On page 26 find XXXX, and correct it. I have found that I can have a back and forth with the editor to make sure I understand what they mean, and to try to defend something if I really think it is integral to the story.

Then I get a letter from the content editor. So far I've only received that on Canteen Dreams. I loved that editor because she cared every bit as much as I did about getting the history right. She forced me to back up my research -- the reader won't see footnotes, but will probably pick up on the ring of authenticity.

So hand me another revision letter. And let's make my books sing!


Cross-posted at Writer...Interrupted.

1 comment:

Jonah said...

That's so encouraging that your publisher has a content editor to make sure things are accurate. I wish the newspapers would do that.


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