Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Agent Revisions (or Talking Myself Off the Ledge)

Tip of the Day: Think whipping off fab YA novels is easy for established writers? Read this post by one of my faves, Sarah Dessen.

Last Wednesday, I got my agent's revision notes on PF. My first reaction was "OMG that's so much work -- I don't know if I'll ever be able to do it!" Fortunately, I kept this statement tucked deep inside by brain and read the email again. And something clicked:

1. Two of the major points she addressed had been mentioned by other readers while my agent was reading the ms (the too long opening, and the relationship between the MC and her boyfriend). So I'd actually been pondering these issues, and when my agent agreed with the others' assessments, I already had an idea of how I'd change them.

Phew! That only left about...100 more lines of the email to address! I read it again -- and something else clicked:

2. Two of the minor points she addressed tied into a third major point, which could all be revised through the same revision. The "told and not showed" anxiety of the MC, and the occassional lack of tension in the competition scenes, could both be fixed by adding a strong arc of the MC's anxiety levels throughout the novel -- which would also help address the major issue, the sometimes lacking "voice" of the MC.

3. And by shortening the novel's opening in (1) above and cutting out a related plot thread, that would also help up the tension by quickening the pace of the novel. Another bird with that same stone.

That only left some "easy fixes" like changing some character names and making some dialog more "teen." Sweet!

But honesty, after analyzing the actual issues that many of the comments pointed to, I realized a lot of them were the same problems just popping up in various forms. And thinking of this revision that way and tackling it as such is making me say, "I can totally do this!"

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Kate Fall said...

I kind of know what you mean. I had that happen to me: I was reading a few critiques of my story and trying to incorporate all the different ideas when it clicked: they were really all just symptoms of ONE missing thing. One of those "let's ignore how this secondary character would really react to my main character so I can move the plot along" issues.

So get back off the ledge. :) To paraphrase something Carmella says, "You don't have to write the whole damn book at once."

Emily Marshall said...

That's really true. I've noticed I often get alot of the same comments, just pointing at the real issue in different ways. Sometimes it's like being a detective and trying to really figure out where the problem lies.

DeenaML said...

Kate, this is why we like Car. :)

Em, that is why you write mysteries. :)

Jenn VonD said...

Yes, you totally CAN do it! :) Though I feel your pain.