Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Report Card--To revise or not to revise!

funny pictures of cats with captions

Plus a kitty update. DC is doing much better. I found the stinkiest canned cat food ever--9 Lives Super Supper--and DC loves it! Even with the pink stuff in it so medicating is much easier! LOL

Well, ye old goals for last week were:

1) Self-edits
2) Synopsis/Blurb
3) Title
4) Live life to the fullest!

What I managed to get done... Self-edits! And the living life stuff. *cackle*

Yes, I finished self-edits for the latest Tn Cop story. Still don't have a blurb/synopsis or title. As with life, writing goals must be fluid. In other words, shit happens. *grins* Plus my critique partner is out of pocket until this week so I haven't had it critiqued yet. So the plan was to start on something new. Not...

Tuesday night, I received a revise and resubmit from a publisher with whom I'd like to become better acquainted. I wasn't particularly sure how to make the requested adjustments. She didn't give me more than general comments. However, she offered to look at again so I was determined to figure out how to make it work!

To revise or not to revise! A lot of authors ask themselves--and others--that question. I've seen some people, especially new authors, claim they won't change anything. It goes against their "artistic integrity". Well, I'm a pragmatist as well as an artist. My "artistic integrity" doesn't pay the mortgage. A book contract does.

Granted, I submitted a short story of 15k words. Had I written a 100k word novel and the editor wanted me to change major points, rewrite massive parts of the plot, I might think twice. Or I might negotiate a contract before I made the changes. However, my little short story shouldn't be that difficult to adjust. No major plot points are at issue. The editor wants me to strengthen the goals, motivation and conflict between the two main characters.

But how to do? I haven't read the story since I submitted it. I have a strict policy of not thinking about a story once it's submitted. I don't even open the file. All my documents are filed in a submissions folder under the publisher's name and forgotten. If I make a sale, I might never open that folder again. The editor will send me a copy of my story with her comments. I don't need the other files.

When I received the R&R, I moved the folder back into my WIP folder on my flash drive. Friday, after a doctor appointment in Little Rock, I went to Starbucks and read through the story for the first time in months. Not a bad story if I do say so myself. *cackle* But I could see the editor's point so I didn't get my hackles up. A few ideas wormed their way into my brain but sudden inspiration didn't strike so I needed to think about it some more.

Saturday while driving to my Diamond State Romance Authors meeting, lightning lit the way! All of a sudden, ideas began rolling. With voice recorder in hand, I worked through some more backstory on my characters. Backstory can help push conflict and conflict is usually centered around individual character's goals that don't meld.

Since I was very early--insomnia issues--I was the first to reach the library. For about an hour, I transcribed my notes and expanded on them. When Delilah Devlin showed up, I ran the ideas by her. She's fabulous at brainstorming. She thinks it'll work. I think it'll work. Now to implement the revisions.

Except today I woke up with a back ache. I managed about 800 words of additional material off and on during the day. Mostly off. I took a muscle relaxer and caught up on my sleep.

I have evil day job three days this week but I hope to finish the revisions by the end of next weekend. Saturday will be a wash because Delilah and I are going to see the World of the Pharaoh's at the Arkansas Arts Center. The exhibit is closing in July and we've almost waited too long! Procrastination is my middle name. *cackle*

Oh, and the doctor appointment was to address my insomnia issues. I'm doing a sleep study Monday night to see if I have sleep apnea. It's a take home test, which is good because I never sleep well in a strange bed. Especially if I know people were watching! LOL Maybe I'll have some good news this week. I'd kill to be able to sleep for two hours straight! Not to mention, sleep would probably help my concentration and memory.

So goals for this week:

1) Revise!
2) Resubmit!

Have a fabulous week!


Cathy in AK said...

Hi Shayla,

I popped over from the RRW loop. Your post title grabbed my attention because I recently received an R&R letter too. As an unpubbed, I was thrilled to (a) not get an outright rejection, and (b) have a real editor make comments on my work. I believe the comments/suggestion will, overall, make the story stronger and more appealing to readers.

What pleased me most was that the editor was specific enough so I can pinpoint where in the MS I need to focus but didn't say "do it this way." No changes to plotpoints, no major character overhauls *whew* My story, my voice, won't be lost.

That's the good part. The scary part? Doing this well enough to get to the next level : )

Thanks for the timely post. I'm ready to dive back into the MS for the umpteenth time.

And good luck with your sleep study.

Cathy in AK said...

Oh, and glad your kitty is better!

Shayla Kersten said...

@Cathy Congratulations on the R&R! And on one with great feedback. It can be scary to go back and make changes to a story with no guarantee of publication. My first book with Ellora's Cave was an R&R, and a very extensive one, but the editor gave me detailed feedback on what she didn't like. Made it a lot easier.

Good luck with your story! Be sure to let me know how it goes!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Shayla,

I think you have to take each R&R request on its individual merits. Sometimes an editor sees flaws that to which the author is blind. At other times, the editor just doesn't get it and is asking for changes that truly would gut the story.

I've learned that you have to let go of the notion that every word is precious. They're all just patterns of bits. Sometimes even your favorites hurt as opposed to help the story.

Glad to hear that DC is doing better!


Denise said...

Hi Shayla! Glad to hear DC is now taking the medicine. Cats are by far harder to medicate than dogs. Foolish dog will take anything wrapped in cheese! As a new author, I was thrilled to receive an R&R offer. However, I did reserve happy dancin' until I made sure I agreed with the requested revisions (boy, did I ever! *blush*). I believe that to thine own story thou shouldst be true. Sounds like you did agree and that you feel the story will be stronger for it. Congratulations! I hope your back feels better and that you can get that R&R back out there to your desired publisher.

Shayla Kersten said...

Hiya, Lisabet! You are so right. Each situation can be so different. As a brand new author, I was asked to make major changes to my novel. The editor hated one of the characters. Her points resonated with me and I did the rewrite, without a contract or guarantee of one. Luckily, it worked out for me and the novel sold.

However, if the editor missed the point entirely, I'm not sure what I would have done. I wanted the sale! I guess you can't really know what to do until the situation happens to you.

Shayla Kersten said...

Hi, Denise! Thanks! DC is a bit of a pill but she's healing well. I took her back to the vet today to have the drainage tube removed but they want to leave it a few more days.

It's great when an editor does get the story but finds ways to make it better. Of course, that's her job description! *cackle* But sometimes it takes a little time to let the suggestions sink in.

katsrus said...

I am so glad you kitty is better.
Sue B