Another Aha! Moment

Posted Oct 6 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this website, but I have some pretty great excuses: a request from one editor to revise and resubmit the full manuscript of one of my contemporary stories and a request from another publisher for the full manuscript of my fantasy romance, which needed a final edit before I sent it out. So for the last three months or more, I’ve been less a writer than a re-writer. I think/hope I’ve learned something in the process.

The biggest “aha!” moment was mid-way in the revision process of the contemporary. As I sped up the pace, went more deeply into my character’s motivations, and made my heroine a lot less weepy, I finally asked myself why I hadn’t done all this before I sent the requested full ms. out in the first place. Aha! Sure, now I knew more exactly what things the editor thought needed changing, but most of them were things I’d known about, suspected, or been told about before by critique partners. If I’d fixed them sooner, maybe my revise-and-resubmit would have been a sale-plus-some-edits”.

Lesson learned, and assured that a delay in sending the requested full was okay with the editor, once the R&R ms. was sent, I went through much the same process with the second ms. And learned something else in the process. While one problem my beta reader found with the contemporary story was a tendency to include too many mundanities of my characters’ lives (“They had chicken for dinner”), those same everyday details were an important part of building the world of my fantasy romance. What my characters would have for dinner told my reader a lot about how they lived (“He took his bow and killed a rabbit for them to eat”). Aha! While almost everything that I’d learned from revising the first story applied to the second, here was at least one exception. Which means, once again, that there are no rules, only guidelines, whether you’re a pirate or a writer.

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