We have author Gina Conkle and she is sharing this post on Revisions with us all.
Over to Gina now...
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Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer. Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations. Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll. When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.
Connect with Gina on the web:
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
That project you loved and crafted with your all your skill has come back. Marked up, edited, and full of questions and comments. What’s a writer to do?
Take a deep breath, and let’s dive into this together with three life-saving ideas.
Realize you’re in a partnership. The moment I sold my story to a publisher, I’m no longer the sole caretaker of that work. Between the cover, publicity, and distribution, I’m one part of the cog that makes the book wheel turn.
But understand this: Your publisher wants your book to succeed. Your success = their success.
Sharpen your skills. Editorial comments provide an excellent opportunity to hone my craft. Don’t you want to produce a book that’s so tightly written with such compelling characters that it flies off the shelf? I had a multi-published author friend tell me online classes, craft books, and contest feedback will only take you so far.
Then, you connect with an editor, and she’ll take your writing to another level.
Why not welcome that change?
Come back with something better. This one comes from my dad and is a little more involved. Growing up he drilled into me the importance of don’t complain if I don’t have a solution. In other words, don’t just whine. Be ready with a better alternative.
Here’s where we get down to the nitty gritty with two edit examples from Norse Jewel:
#1) The Male Factor
My editor felt that my hero should talk about his feelings on a touchy family situation. She suggested two paragraphs. End of edit note.
I bristled at writing two paragraphs of male emotions. Men have them, sure, but they’re not always forthright about them. But, I didn’t have to dig deep to know Erin (my editor) was right! I understood the message: Readers want the inner workings of the hero in the right doses. I knew she didn’t care how it happened. She just wanted it to happen.
So, since the hero, Hakan’s a Viking chieftain and a man of action, he poured his emotions out while he battled the heck out of his friend. It was friendly combat. A “Let’s practice our fighting skills.” The friend asked Hakan about that touchy family situation, and my Viking hero “shared” as he whacked his sword.
That pleased my editor, kept me happy, and improved the story by giving readers more connection to the hero…all done with manly fighting skills that stayed true to my character.
But, the next edit took some wrangling.
#2 The Last Spark in the Arc
Warning: *spoiler alert*
My heroine, Helena, wanted freedom. She wasn’t born a slave, so all she wanted was to go home. That goal morphed over time, but she did in fact get what she wanted…or did she?
Hakan, the Viking chieftain granted her freedom, but right at the end, she put her slave arm band back on right before their marriage ceremony. Part of the story was a clash of cultures. Yet, Helena not only put back on her Viking garb (after she’d been given a Frankish dress), but she also clamped the slave band on her arm. As a free woman.
This upset not just one, but two editors. They insisted that had to change. To them, the voluntary return of the arm band made no sense in Helena’s character arc. Yikes!
I took more time going over this edit. You know what made the difference? At the end of the day, it’s still my job to clearly communicate the message, the story
I faced facts: I wasn’t doing either of those very well.
I reworked the scene by making character motive clearer. I made the voluntary return of the slave band into a sexy moment between Hakan and Helena. Just like a wedding ring claims “I belong to you” so did that arm band. But in a sensual way that promised hot sex later on.
And that worked very well for both editors.
Like a lot of communication in life, there’s very little that we give and receive at face value. We rely largely on subtext, on non-verbal communication.
When it comes to revisions, why not take a deep breath and figure out what you and the editor are really saying? Because two heads are better than one.
I’d love to hear your revision pointers. Please share!
Gina has a new release:
A stolen woman of rare qualities...
Seized by marauders and taken to the icy northlands by the wolf-eyed Viking warrior, Helena will do whatever it takes to earn her freedom and return to France.
A mighty Viking Chieftain…
Betrayal has turned Hakan’s heart to ice, but the spirited Frankish maid warms him in a way he’s never known. The spell she weaves leaves them both breathless, but can he keep his promise to return her home even if it means he’ll lose his precious jewel forever?
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