Thursday, November 4, 2010
ABCs of the Content Edit
Every step of my journey to publication has been a huge learning experience for me. The revision letter was no different. The content edits for Canyon Walls were pretty extensive. At first, I was disappointed, but now, I realize that it is just another step in making me a better writer. Here are a few of the things I learned from my content edit.
A - Avoid emotional whiplash - In an effort to create more tension in scenes, I was unintentionally making my heroine an emotional mess. When an editor labeled this “Emotional Whiplash” a light bulb went on in my brain. What a great way to explain this problem! When you’re adding conflict and emotion in a scene, be careful not to jar your reader.
B - Be Decisive – The editor (at least in my case) lets you know what needs to be changed, but doesn’t tell you how to change it. After I read through the revision letter, I had to make some big decisions about what I would do to correct the problems in my story. No one knows your story better than you do. Learn to follow your instincts, make a decision, and make it work.
C - Consider subplots carefully – Just because you love a secondary plot in your novel, doesn't mean it belongs there. What does it add to your main story? If you removed it, how would it change your story? If it doesn’t add anything to your plot, cut it.
D - Details are important – Content editors are experts at picking up on those little inconsistencies. Before you send your book to an editor or agent, do a read through looking at the details. Come up with a system or a spreadsheet to track these easy-to-miss, but incredibly important, details.
E - Enjoy the process – A big set of revisions can be stressful and cause a lot of self doubt. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Trust me, I know! Every now and then, I had to step back and remember that I’m getting the chance to do what I love to do. What could be better than that?