That Tricky Revision Process

Posted by September 22nd, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (Sept. 8, 2011)

New York Times bestselling author and editor team Rachel Caine and Anne Sowards talk about how to take a good book and make it great.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteYou’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your first draft, and it’s finally ready. Well, kinda sorta. Now, you just have to revise. Whether you’re a writer getting feedback from a community like Book Country or from a beta reader, a contracted author getting notes from his/her editor, or the editor in question, it’s a tricky process.


Not only is it a complex process, but everyone approaches revisions differently. That’s why we decided to chat with a New York Times bestselling duo–author Rachel Caine (@RachelCaine) and her Ace/Roc editor Anne Sowards (@AnneSowards) to get their take.

Rachel Caine is the New York Times bestselling author of 14 adult urban fantasy novels, including the “Weather Warden” and “Outcast Season” series, as well as 11 young adult novels in her beloved “Morganville Vampires” series (and more!).

Anne Sowards is the executive editor of Penguin’s Ace/Roc imprint and has helped grow some of the most well-known bestselling SF/F authors today like Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, and Ilona Andrews (in addition to Rachel!). With 15 years of experience at Ace/Roc, Anne certainly knows her stuff.

With the tips and experiences they have to share, you might figure out what kind of reviser you are! Check out these gems from the chat:

@AnneSowards: If you feel the first draft is perfect, sit on it for a while and then look at it again.

@rachelcaine: If I feel strongly about keeping something, I am suspicious of why I do. Often, that’s what needs cutting.

@mbrucebarton: A good self-editing technique: reread & write down what you learn about your own plot/characters on each page

@mer_barnes: Read aloud!! Esp works with dialogue.

@Chumplet: I get rather excited to see edits. It gives my book an anchor. I’m no longer alone, playing a guessing game.

@AnneSowards: An author doesn’t have to fix the book my way. They can say, Anne, your idea stinks. How about this?

@rachelcaine: As a writer, you fear seeing the editorial notes, but the trick is take things one comment at a time, fix, move on.

@mbrucebarton: Sometimes small issues are symptoms of the larger issues so I recommend starting with the BIG ones

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Thanks to all who made this chat such a great success!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

 

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