I used to hate doing revisions. I want to put that out there as I write merrily along today, making changes to my newest story, a detailed revision letter guiding me as I work. How could someone be so cruel as to pick apart my perfect prose or derogate my dialogue? Didn’t my editor know it wasn’t nice to pick on my manuscript, my baby, when her eyes were already the perfect shade of green, her smile sweet and toothless.
But I’ve been doing this for a while now. It’s been 15 years since I first got “the call” from a publisher. During this time, I have watched – and whined to my critique group – as I was asked to give my babies haircuts and manicures and, when necessary, even a facelift. And you know what I begrudgingly had to admit? The stories got better. Always.
To understand what a significant admission this is for me, you have to hear the story of one of my first major revision projects. Let’s just call it what it really was…an overhaul. When I received the call from one of my earliest editors (waving at Diane, if you happen to be reading), and she told me she wanted to purchase my second inspirational romance, An Honest Life, I was thrilled. Until I heard the caveat: “Oh, but Rusty can’t die.” Unfortunately for me, Rusty’s death set up the next book, and his accident took place on about Page 45. To make the necessary corrections, I had to rewrite almost the whole book. Yes, I whined over those revisions, but even then, the story was better for it, and it remains one of my favorite books.
So now I am working on revisions for my new book, Falling for the Cop, my second Harlequin Superromance, which will be released in March 2017. Since I’ve been away from the manuscript for a while, it’s easier to see the places where I missed opportunities to show character growth or to deepen the emotional connection between the hero and heroine. I also so appreciate comments from my editor, Karen Reid, and her help in making the book better. It’s great having someone as invested in my stories as I am and someone who can see the big picture in my story when I’m sometimes too close to see it. Where I resented revisions in the beginning, I love the challenge of making the book better, of pushing my characters just a little harder.
Sure, there are still moments when I want to become protective of my baby, but then I remind myself that my editor and I want the same thing: to tell the best story we can. And when the work gets tough and I need a laugh, I take a look at this photo and remind myself that my editor and I make a great team, and we’ve got this.