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Carmen Falcone on Getting Used to Revisions!

Let's extend our welcome to author Carmen Falcone as she talks about revisions!


Revisions: Get Used to Them

 

One thing that I both dread and crave is that e-mail from my editor with the edits. I hope I’m not alone in thinking we, authors, live for moments like this; the editor is the first gateway to the readers (who are waving at the finish line), so we learn from them, work with them and, at times, persuade them.

Before signing a contract with Entangled, I experienced getting feedback from critique partners, evaluations from freelance editors and whatnot. Those extra sets of eyes helped me a great deal – and still do, of course. I truly believe writing doesn’t have to be a lonely journey, and in fact it’s much better when it’s a joint effort. You write, but you get your writing buddies to assess your flaws and strengths, and sometimes even that supportive friend who doesn’t have a clue about writing in your genre can have a crucial part in your writing journey just by being there and cheering you on.

That said, as I learned the revisions from an editor are the ones where the stakes are really high. Why? Because it’s easier to bypass someone else’s opinion before your work is contracted, whether that person is right or wrong. I’ll never forget when a critique partner told me my story lacked emotion, and I thought, “Ah, maybe not.” And I was lazy and didn’t really implement all the changes she suggested because I was so connected to the story, I couldn’t believe she wasn’t. Yet, when my editor read my submission, she told me I had to up the emotion and conflict; otherwise, it was a no-go.

So. This is what I usually do when I get edits from an editor. First of all, I read the entire letter and comments. Then, I get some wine. Remember that Hemingway said one must write drunk and edit sober? C’mon, guys, editing drunk is just SO much fun. J

Anyway. Seriously now… I usually do three or four rounds before I send it back to the editor. The first one, I read everything like I mentioned above. Then, I make some notes with Post-Its of the general things I should change (the big-ticket items), and so I won’t be super overwhelmed, I go through the small stuff (like word choice, etc.) and accept changes. By the time I go back to the book, I have a better idea about what needs to be done about the big-ticket items (motivation, conflict, goal, characterization, etc.) and change them. Phew. Then I do a final read-through before hitting send and starting to bite my nails.

So there you go: a glimpse into my revision process. What about you? If you’re a reader, what do you imagine edits to be? And if you’re a writer, what is your process?
 
A NIGHT OF MISBEHAVING


 

For just one night, Georgia Taylor wants to forget about her demanding job and the everyday struggles of being a single mom. Her track record with men is pitiful, but that’s fine because her responsibilities don’t leave room for love anyway. The new online dating site is perfect for what she’s after.

But Georgia’s plans are crushed when Brent Turner, aka Sexy Dad and father of her daughter’s classmate, turns out to be her internet date, therefore, eliminating any possibility for a night without consequences.

All of Brent Turner’s honorable intentions fly out the window when he sees highly strung “Super Mom” waiting for her date at the bar. Determined to win Georgia’s trust and show her a good time, their no-strings evening promises to become so much more…until, that is, she discovers what he's really up to.

 

BIO:

 

Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional
characters beat doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband, living proof that opposites attract. She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she is not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.

 
 



 

 

 

40 comments:

  1. You're spot on about us craving and being terrified of those critique emails! I love hearing what people think, but oh, how I despise revising...

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    1. Hey Liz! I know, right? I always feel like it takes forever to open that email, lol.

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  2. Carmen is right - revising is just a part of the writer's life. It is something we need to be very comfortable with, that's for sure. I like to make sure I have dark chocolate on hand when I am working on revisions. :)

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    1. Hi, Karen! Chocolate near by is definitely a must! :D

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  3. I usually lean more to fearing critique emails than craving them, although I know the book will be better from the critiques. First feedback is especially hard.

    Congrats, Carmen!

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    1. Thanks, Cherie! You are right, the first one is super hard. Especially when we think we nailed the story, and BAM, there's still so much work to be done. I am though super grateful for my crit partners!

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  4. I definitely find myself reading through the whole letter...and needing a break with some kind of libation :) Usually after I let things settle in my mind a little, I'm ready to tackle what I can!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Meradeth!

      Yes you are right, it's nice to give yourself time (if possible) to digest things. Do you usually start with the big changes or small ones?

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  5. Yeah. Revisions. I actually discovered that editing is where my real writing goes. My first draft is really just a very long outline, like 50,000 words worth. :D

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    1. Donna, thank you! I thought I was the only one, lol, to think of my first draft as a big outlining mess! Ha!

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  6. Revisions are all part of the game. Most readers don't even realize how much revising and editing goes into a book.

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    1. Chrys, that is SO true. There's a lot of work, and honestly I'm in awe of editors in general, as they can tackle so many projects at the same time -- and manage to bring out the best in each of them.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this. I really had no idea. I guess I figured they are a lot like working with a freelance editor or a crit partner. Hmm... Your book sounds wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! The stakes are higher when you're doing revisions on a contracted book in my humble opinion. That's not a bad thing, as I am so thankful and I've learned so much from my editors. They are truly wonderful.

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  8. I am currently waiting to hear from my editor. I expect lots of rewriting, but I actually love the process.

    Enjoyed your take on editing.

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    1. Thanks, Denise!

      I'm waiting to hear from my editor as well, and I don't have any nails left! Help!

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  9. Ha - mostly I allow myself a wee bit of a pout - what? My beautiful story wasn't perfect? Once I get that out of my system, I start focusing on how I'm going to implement the editorial suggestions. I don't want to just make changes. I want the story to come out the other end stronger.

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    1. Hi, Irene! Thanks so much for leaving a comment. You are right, it's about making the story stronger. I also think the more you get to know your editor, the better, Sometimes, to achieve a certain result you really don't need a whole lot -- yet other times, it's a complete overhaul. I always pester my editor with questions to make sure I won't do too little or too much, lol.

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  10. Sounds like you have a healthy love hate-relationship with edits.

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  11. Great post, Carmen! I have to do a lot of revision passes too. This year, for the first time I'll be giving a WIP to my agent and get her feedback. But first it has to go through all my CPs. And before that it has to go through me, and I'm NEVER satisfied.

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    1. Lexa, how exciting! Good luck and keep us posted :)

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  12. I love getting edits from my editor. I kind of thought that made me crazy. ;)

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    1. Ha! no, it doesn't make you crazy. You just want to hurry up and finish polishing and get the book on the shelves or e-shelves, lol.

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  13. Oddly, revisions from my editor don't bother me. What I HATE as a freelance writer is writing a 500-word article, then getting an email from the client saying, "This is not at all what I wanted." Often that email has an "end of the world" tone! Those are painful. Editors are much pickier--but they are usually MUCH more professional than many of the clients I deal with. Clients don't know how to talk to writers...editors are almost always much more sensitive about their comments, even when they're telling you a scene doesn't work at all. I've had clients call my writing dull, shallow, a mess... I had one client say my file was full of misspellings. I went over the thing with a fine-toothed comb and never found one misspelling so, to this day, I have no idea what he was talking about! I made some corrections, but I didn't change any spellings, and he published it...so I'm wondering if maybe he was dyslexic or something...

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    1. Hello Stephanie! Wow, thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation. You brought some very valid points.
      A lot of editors are also writers or have written at some point, which I think helps. Maybe your clients don't relate thus don't know what the heck they're talking about? Lol. I'm a translator, and when I deal with translation agencies versus direct clients, there is such a big difference.

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  14. Editors can really be your best friend if you just take a deep breath and prepare yourself for all the rewriting you'll have to do!

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  15. It's hard to remember, when someone suggests your baby isn't perfect, that your editor really is there to help you make it better. I think when we catch that vision and really go forward with it in mind, the edits aren't quite as painful. =)

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    1. I know right? I agree, they do make it better :)

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  16. I like to get lots of opinions and where there is agreement, I know I have a problem. Sort of like a manuscript intervention. And it's good to have an editor you feel like you can trust.

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    1. Hi,Elizabeth! I usually have 2-3 Cps and I think that's all I can handle. I'm a part of a big crit group (with 12-15 members) and while I love to go and assist my fellow writers, I don't know if I could get that amount of opinions all at once. Lol! I would be so overwhelmed! I really respect writers who can digest it all

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  17. I love what you say about reading your editor's letter and then drinking some wine. I'd do the same thing. But we writers can get so close to what we write, it's really tough to look at our works objectively. Happily, I have some honest friends who can give me honest reactions, and that always helps to get my book to a more professional level.

    Oh, and I love the title "A Night of Misbehaving." It's on my list now.

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    1. Hi, Helena! I love that name, my fave cousin is called Helena :)

      I agree with what you said, it's hard to look at our work objectively at first, because we are so invested. Writing buddies and friends can be a great support system. Along with the wine or chocolate of course! Ha!

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  18. Notes from my critique group, beta readers, and editors need time for me to digest. At first it seems like a lot of work, and it is, but once I start it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

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    1. Same here, Medeia. After that shot of adrenaline from reading it for the first time is gone, then I can regroup and appreciate ;)

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  19. I loved hearing from Carmen. I just finished doing edits for my editor and it was quite a process. Definitely had lots of work to do before hitting the send button! :) It was amazing to watch the story get better and my editor's advice was so helpful.

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    1. Hey Jess!

      Good for you! Isn't it amazing? :)

      I just got my edits from my editor and it's like putting on glasses. LOL

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  20. I'm deep in the revision trenches right now, 70% through my manuscript, and yeah, it's a ton of work, but every step in the right direction is progress.

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  21. I remember critiquing a chapter for you once Carmen, years ago. Then when I read your published novel, I felt very happy.to recognize that same chapter in a book. It wasn't this one, of course.

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Join the discussion. What do you think?