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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rewrites in Progress

I was tempted to write "revisions in progress," but I must confess that this stage is more like rewrites because I'm writing brand-new material for my novel. Let me explain what happened for those who care to learn more about this mysterious process called "revisions" and "getting published." I'm learning as I go and happy to share the experience for those who are curious.

As many of you know, Kregel Publications accepted my suspense novel for publication, and it's slated for release this fall. During the month of February, I completed the first round of revisions. I worked with a very talented and fiction-savvy editor at Kregel, and she led me through the changes. They weren't nearly as bad as I expected. Most of the stuff meant simply strengthening or clarifying details that may have seemed weak. I also wrote one brand-new scene to strengthen one character's relationship with another character.

An independent editor then reviewed the revised draft after the first round of revisions, and at the end of March I received a rather cryptic e-mail from my editor that the novel contained "serious flaws." For several days, I admit, I lived in anxiety over what these serious flaws could be. Goodness, I had been over the novel so many times, and the editor I worked with during the first round of revisions had been over the novel, too. It seemed too impossible to believe that serious flaws could exist after I had made all the changes the first editor asked for.

Then another Kregel editor contacted me and sent me the review from this independent editor. Oh my! Yes, in his opinion the novel had major issues that needed to be resolved before it would be ready for publication. It wasn't easy to read his critique because he didn't like many things, and what he felt needed to change was so global in nature, I frankly wondered how the novel would survive a revision of that magnitude. I admit I wasn't a happy camper for several days. But all things (even tough things) happen for God's good reason.

The Kregel editor graciously gave of her time, and she and I exchanged umpteen e-mails over several days, going through the independent editor's comments and figuring out "where we go from here." In the end, she threw out some of his comments and focused on the problems she agreed needed to be fixed. Writing a novel is a subjective process, but if two editors agree on the same problems, then something needs to change. Then she helped me think through possible scenarios and choose the best ones. (I still wanted Stacey to go over the waterfall, but that part is going in the trash can. Maybe someday I'll explain what I mean.)

Now I'm changing a major character and rewriting a subplot that has major ramifications on the storyline. (Pull one thread, and the whole thing starts to unravel.) Yes, it's a lot of work, and I've been doing most of the writing on Saturdays so I don't conflict with my regular editing work. Several editors have agreed that this is the right direction to go, and I trust their judgment. I'm over the shock now and am determined to follow their advice, which should hopefully take the novel to the next level. All for now! May the Lord receive all the glory!

1 comment:

  1. Keep going, Adam! It'll all be worth it when you hold your finished book in your hands. :)