Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being Thrown Back Into the Deep End of the Revision Pool

Organ Pipes and Light
With this having to serve as a somewhat awkward "I don't have an announcement to make but I also don't feel comfortable going into much detail about where this request has come from just yet" let me say I'm back in the Deep End of the Revision Pool.

I received a lengthy email that swelled my ego with some comments and left me scratching my head over others.  The work that I had done on Revision I was very well received.  They loved the additional chapter and the character interactions that it showed and the other added touches sprinkled throughout the manuscript.  The catch?  They wanted more.

Lots more, as it turns out.

The email ended with an invitation to discuss this over the phone if I had any questions.  (Now that you mention it)  So I emailed back and asked if we could talk.

The day before the call I spent some time writing back and forth with my CP who told me, in essence, to stop thinking of my book as KidLit and recognize it as Middle Grade, to stop my whining and get to work with the revision.  That night I spoke to my wonderful wife who told me the author of the email knew, from experience, what she was talking about and saw real potential for my book and to stop my whining and get to work on the revision.

It took me the better part of a week (and two, similar kicks to the head) to process what, exactly, they were asking for.  Their request wasn't merely for more of the same, but for additional content that would change my book from a goofy kids book (my phrase for this project from Day One) to something far more substantial.  

This idea took some getting used to. It meant that there were people out there who were taking my book and my writing seriously and they were asking me to do the same.

The phone call ended up going extremely well, mostly because I told the author of the email exactly what she had written to me and even managed to sum it up in a single, simple sentence.  ("You want more who, where and when, along with deeper character interactions.")

The catch is, this is a fairly large overhaul to the manuscript.  Instead of adding in an additional chapter and patching the ramifications of that chapter into the rest of the story, this is lots of additions, each with their own potential ramifications.  My 120 page manuscript is going to come close to doubling before it's all over.

I'm taking it bird by bird, though, starting with the big three chapter additions and then working down a list of additional scenes and dialogue that need to happen.  I've given myself a deadline of the end of the month/year to make sure I actually do the work instead of fret about how I'm going to do it all.

Those days off next week are going to come in mighty handy.

How about your writing for the last two weeks of the year?  Are you still writing or are you taking time off for the holidays?  Has your writing schedule changed at all?

-- Tom