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Jennifer Faye on Tackling Edits and Giveaway!

We have debut author Jennifer Faye visiting and she's giving away a copy of her RANCHER TO THE RESCUE, print to US and a kindle gift copy open to international!
Over to Jennifer...


Edits…those pesky notes from your editor that says this isn’t quite good enough, this scene is in the wrong place, why is the character acting this way…and the list is goes on.

Though we may hate to admit it, each editor comment can be like a nugget of gold. Of course that’s so much easier to say when you’ve finished implementing the changes. Looking back on edits is always so much better than staring them down and wondering how in the world will you ever make such and such change.

I must admit getting a revision letter from my editor can be a bit intimidating. And let me just say that what an editor thinks is a little change may not be so little for you as the writer. A little matter of changing a “yes” answer in the dialogue to a “no” can have a massive ripple effect throughout the rest of the manuscript. So when I read “a few minor” changes, I block those words out. No need getting my hopes raised for nothing.

When I first get my awaited revision letter, I’m usually a mixed bag of excitement, relief and nervous energy. I’ll start reading it over and about half way through my mind begins to spin, my eyes glaze over and my chest tightens. At that point, panic sets in. I’m certain there is absolutely no way of doing what she’s asking of me. My story is doomed. *cue the doubt crows circling overhead*

I shut down the computer and walk away. My stress level is on max. It’s time to do something else, most likely housework. But sooner rather than later a piece of the puzzle drops into place in my mind, and I rush back to the email to see if I remembered the editor’s wording correctly. And if I have, then I feel a little more relaxed. I continue reading through the entire revision letter.

The nerves kick up again and it’s time to do some more laundry. My mind churns away with the problem, hunting for an answer while I’m folding laundry and singing along to my favorite country music. I may be thinking about what to make for dinner that night, but my mind is still problem solving. And then out of the blue, the answer will pop up. Funny how the mind works…or at least mine. :-)

By the next day, I’ve usually worked through my nerves and I’m ready to dive in. I take my editor’s letter and I break it down into bullet points. Sometimes I get lucky and she mentions the same thing a couple of times in the letter so I get to combine those items in my bullet points.

With a printed copy of my manuscript in hand, I start reading.  Using sticky tabs, I mark where I think I can implement a revision change and I mark the revision # so it’s easy to reference later on. After reading the whole way through the manuscript, I generally have all of the revisions accounted for. At this point, I just start working my way down through each comment and crossing them off as I do them.

The key for me to work through the revisions is to break them down into bite-size pieces. Then I take them one at a time. They are so much less intimidating that way.

 

Jennifer Faye on the web:


 

Her debut is RANCHER TO THE RESCUE.

 

What’s the best tip you’ve heard/used for editing/revising?
 
This is Jennifer Faye's upcoming release SNOWBOUND WITH THE SOLDIER.
Sounds yummy?

31 comments:

  1. Breaking it down into separate points sounds a very sensible approach.

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    1. It definitely keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. ;-)

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  2. Great suggestions, Jennifer. Taken all at once, those letters can be quite intimidating. At least they are to me. Breaking them down is the way to go.

    Hi, Nas!

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    1. Carol, you're right. Taken as a whole those letters are overwhelming, no matter how nicely worded they are. Breaking them down is the only way I can work through them. ;-)

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  3. I love the image of circling doubt crows--that's just perfect! Wonderful advice, too!

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    1. Thanks Meradeth. I'm just finishing up a new story and those doubt crows are flying. Did I remember this? Did I remember that? At least I know they are just part of my process. A way for me to hopefully not to forget too much in the story. LOL.

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  4. I agree that you have to step away and let things sink in before tackling edits. My first reaction is always to panic and want to pull my hair out. ;)

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    1. Hi Kelly. Yes, I know that feeling. It's amazing how we can walk away and do some housework and come back to the edits knowing how to apply them. The marvels of the human brain. ;-)

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  5. I suspect when I get my editor's letter, I'm going to end up with a very clean house.

    Thanks, Jennifer, for the great advice.

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    1. LOL. Yep, the cleaning really helps with the thinking. Talk about multi-tasking. ;-)

      Glad to share. Hope it helps.

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  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one who panics when reading over editor's notes. :)

    That's a great idea about breaking it up. Smaller bits are much easier to manage.

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    1. Hi, Cherie. Smaller bites is definitely the way to go. Less to stress over at a time. :-)

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  7. Who knew laundry could be so useful?

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    1. Hi Suze. Laundry happens to be one of my favorite brainstorming activities. You'd be amazed what I can sort out while folding laundry. ;-)

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  8. Housework can be great therapy. I'm also like you in this respect. Working with my hands and conscious mind engaged in work at hand, leaves the subconscious to wander and find its own answers.

    Great post and lovely cover. Congrats!

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    1. Ruchi, you'd be amazed how many ideas just pop into my mind seemingly out of nowhere while I'm doing housework. Love those nuggets of gold.

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  9. I actually love comments from editors. Yes, it means a lot of work to revise, but the suggestions are often very good, and result in a far better manuscript.

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    1. I totally agree. Even though sometimes the revisions may be difficult, I always find my editor's input very valuable and my story much stronger by the time the revisions are complete.

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  10. Jennifer, when I hear about these editor letters it makes me feel better about my critiques. I'll be so scared to get them one day! But it seems every writer winds up being up to the challenge.

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    1. Theresa, don't fear an R&R (revise and resubmit) or a straight up revision letter. Editors are busy people and must see something special in your story to take the time to write one. Therefore be excited that they saw something special in your writing that made them take notice. And you'll surprise yourself by what you are capable of doing. I do every time I conquer a revision request. ;-)

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  11. It was wonderful to read about Jennifer's process when she gets edits back from an editor (so far I have only gotten edits back from my agent). I like the steps she takes to make the changes and I can relate to the different emotions. Revisions/edits can seem overwhelming at first but taking them one at a time does help. :)

    Best of luck Jennifer!
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi, Jess. So glad you enjoyed the post. Taking the edits one step at a time is definitely the key to working my way through them. ;-)

      Thanks so much!

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  12. Hi Jennifer, I'm far from being able to fly solo, but I've been assisting an editor for a while and the gift of fresh eyes on a manuscript can be invaluable. I hope some of my insights have helped some of the authors I've worked with.

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    1. Maria, assisting an editor sounds exciting. I'm sure you've been a big help. :-)

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  13. Edits, yes, I can relate somewhat! Have been working on some these past few weeks. Nice to meet Jennifer, thanks for the intro!

    Happy weekend!

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    1. Karen, good luck with your edits. Hope you love the results. And it was nice to meet you too. :-)

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  14. That's great advice for tackling anything tricky - do it in bite sized chunks. Looking too far ahead can make a task look impossible, but we know nothing is impossible.

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    1. Exactly, Denise. I think that's why I panic when I first read over my revision request. Too much info! Once I break it down, I can process it. :-)

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  15. Congrats, Jennifer!

    I always do the easy simple edits first and maybe make some notes. THEN...after I let it sit I tackle the BIG revisions. Less intimidating that way. :)

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    1. Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by. I love to do the simple edits first too. Then I can mark them off the list and feel like I've accomplished something. ;-)

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  16. I find revision letters overwhelming at first. I give myself time to think and when I return to my computer I'm more confident about what to do.

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Join the discussion. What do you think?