Author Suzanne Gilchrist is visiting and talks about her revision process. She has a new book out this month, Under an Outback Sky.
S. E. takes a keen interest in the environment, anything to do with space, and loves walking her two dogs and spending time with her family and friends. She co-runs the Hunter Romance Writers group and is the organiser behind the multi-author writing ventures: the best-selling Bindarra Creek Romance series, the Deadly Forces series, and the Mindalby Outback Romance series.
Suzanne Gilchrist on the web:
Today, I’d like to share a few of the revision processes I undertake before I send my book off to an editor.
It’s important to me that I meet my readers’ expectations. There are core tropes that readers expect from every genre. For romance the basic element is obviously a happy ever after or happy for now ending. For a crime story the basic element would be a satisfactory solution to the crime and capture of the baddie. So check what the core tropes are for your relevant genre and then whether you’ve hit the mark.
Example from my story – Her chin was firm and her shoulders straight and he couldn’t help a warm glow of pride in her resilience. She was a true woman of the outback – able to weather any storm. She would be an awesome wife – and mother. But he longed to show he was there for her.
And then that magic moment. Her fingers touched his. Without glancing in her direction, he linked his hand with hers enjoying the electric frizz from her touch. It was more than passion; more than desire; maybe something better and stronger that would stand the test of time – friendship and true love.
Also look at the theme of your book. Hopefully you have already worked this out either before you began your story or as the story progressed. Some writers can sum their theme up in one or two words. Others will write out the core of their story into a sentence. Each scene and then each chapter can be checked by reading it through (out loud is best) then asking yourself – does this narrative relate to my theme / core message AND does it continue to drive the plot forward?
The theme of Under an Outback Sky is: family relationships. Examples from my story – Jace: His mother hardly ever contacted him – his father… Well, that was another festering wound of misery while time had whittled his memories of Doug away to little more than a handful of images that faded more each day.
Maggie: Most of the eligible blokes in the area had been snapped up and although she was fond of the remaining inhabitants, she drew the line at a husband so old he had no teeth. Or one that preferred the bottom of his beer glass than being with his wife or girlfriend and unfortunately there were quite a few of those types in town. Anyway being the full-time manager of her parents’ shop meant no holidays, no trips into any larger nearby towns that could broaden her opportunities. Her hopes and dreams for a family of her own would have to wait a little longer.
Check that each scene and chapter both begin and end in a hook that captures and doesn’t let go of the reader’s attention. You want to hold onto your reader from the very first line to the very end of your story.
Example of a chapter ending from my book: She snuck another sideways peek at his profile, biting back a sigh. She’d read about ‘chiselled jaws’ and here was the living proof such a thing existed. What a pity if he turned out to be the enemy.
Example of a chapter beginning from my book: Exactly what had he gotten himself into? When he’d decided to avoid his family reunion and lose himself in a remote part of the world, no way had Jace factored into the equation spending time with a woman he found far too attractive. Yet somehow he’d agreed to venture into the back of beyond on a camel of all things!
And don’t forget to check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
There are more editing processes you can do to develop the best book possible. Invest in a few ‘how to’ books on self-editing and attend courses where you can. Revising your work yourself will teach you to write cleaner stories, and the more you practice this skill you'll probably also end up writing faster. Good luck, and I hope to see your own story out in the world one day.