The Head, Heart and Gut of a Revision

by Ashlynmathews on July 19, 2012

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines revision as: to look over again in order to correct or improve.

I came to understand the revision process as something different— the anatomy of who I am as a writer. I had to use my head and listen to my heart while my gut twisted in knots at the task of having to trim my MS down by 80 pages or so. Yes, that’s a lot of pages and many thousands of words.

My editor gave me three weeks to revise but would extend the deadline if I needed it. I didn’t. I sent in my edits yesterday, two days before the deadline. From a previous post, I shared my agony at having to literally rewrite my book. Again. Prior to contracting Shadowatcher with Crimson Romance, the story had morphed a total of three times. The hero and heroine kept their names but with each rewrite, their personality, goals and motivations had changed. Along the way, some characters died while others were left out all together. That’s the price of a revision.

For the past three weeks, I worked my day job then came home to revise until midnight each night. Weekends, I spent in front of my PC typing away. My son’s soccer tournament and various parties gave me a short reprieve. It was nice to spend time with real people instead of the imaginary ones in my head.

My mind worked through each chapter, each scene and sequel, and each plot and subplot, until I figured I had nailed the story down.

Though my heart was saddened by the loss of great supporting characters, the voice inside my head said I could use these characters in other stories separate from this one (now entitled Shadow Watchers).

Logic taking over emotions, I realized my imagination had no ceiling. The sky was the limit. The sinking feeling in my stomach suddenly felt lighter. It took my head to remind my heart and stomach that things will be okay. It’s not the end of the world that my story has changed. Again.

Now we’ll see if my editor likes this version. And if she doesn’t? Well, that’s another blog.

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melia Alexander July 21, 2012 at 3:54 am

Wow, Ashlyn! Congratulations on beating deadline!! As hard as it might have been to let characters go, the end result sounds fantastic! Hugs!

Happy writing,
Melia

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Ashlynmathews July 21, 2012 at 4:28 am

Thanks Melia! It’s one of those bittersweet moments that is a part of being a writer. Virtual hugs to you too!

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Tammy J. Palmer September 16, 2012 at 4:49 am

You cut 80 pages and revised an entire manuscript in three weeks? Wow. Some think getting published is the hard part, but working with an editor, and surviving edits it’s a huge hurdle to have passed. Good job. (Now treat yourself to something fun, you deserve it.)

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Ashlynmathews September 16, 2012 at 4:53 am

Thank you!

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