Friday, December 6, 2013

The Value of Editing, Revising, and Not Giving Up

I use Grammarly's free grammar checker because it's a nerdastically fabulous source to ensure that you don''t sound like a twelve year old with a MySpace account. 

My first novel took about 4 years. The 1st draft was giant binder full of handwritten pages. Then I was finally able to get a computer, but no internet and type it up. With dreams of book deals dancing in my head, I checked out the latest copy of Writer's Market and mailed out a slew of query letters.

Naturally, that didn't turn out so well. After a few months of dejection, I got an idea for another book.
I hand wrote the pages at work and was encouraged when a coworker snatched them from my hands and demanded to know what happened next. 

I finished it shortly before I was able to get the internet. I immediately googled agents and sent a flurry of email queries. I got a few requests, but mostly rejections.

I tweaked the manuscript and researched the industry and eventually made friends with other authors. Finally I found what I was supposed to have done in the first place: have other people critique it first. Many other writers graciously volunteered. 

Alas, none of them ever sent me feedback, except for one, who critiqued the first couple chapters and flat out said, "I stopped reading here. I'm sorry." 

Thankfully, one saint of a reader made her way through the whole thing and pointed me in the write direction on fixing it.

I rewrote it and found more beta readers.This time, all made it through and provided excellent feedback. None seemed to adore it, however. I rewrote it again before sending out more queries and getting MORE rejections. 

"My book SUCKS!" I wailed, and tossed it in the proverbial trunk and began a new book a completely different subgenre. My 3rd novel, BITE ME, YOUR GRACE ultimately landed me my fist book deal. And that one also endured at least 6 revisions.

However, my previous book, WRENCHING FATE lingered in my mind. Using all I learned from my 3rd book, I completely overhauled and rewrote the 2nd one. It was practically my 4th novel.
I found more critique buddies and guess what: they LIKED it! Alas, with the publication of BITE ME, YOUR GRACE and working on the other books in that series, as well as working on other shiny new ideas, I had little time to work on WRENCHING FATE.

But that story never left my mind.

Whenever I had a spare moment, I utilized the feedback I received from my beta readers and critique partners and revised it again.

And again.

Now it's in the hands of the final batch of beta readers.

And guess what?

They're already messaging me to tell me they LOVE it!! 

The moral of this story is that if you know deep in your heart that you have a good story, it is indeed possible to make it a great, well written story. 

It just takes a TON of hard work, determination, lots of learning, and countless revisions. Utilizing sources like Grammarly, which I mentioned above, as well as reader feedback and learning from your own mistakes can aid you in your journey to success.  

1 comment:

  1. Never give up girl, and by the by, I'm loving Wretching Fate. :)

    Great advice, and I know exactly what you mean.