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Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Countdown 5: Revisions and a Second Editor


Sometime in the summer of 2009

My editor, Allie, and I had a lot of fun going through my novel Perilous. She was very upbeat, always telling me how great I was and how quickly things were coming along. That doesn't mean she didn't request changes, though.

Revision 1 The first change Allie wanted to see was the addition of my detective's POV. I put the detective in the opening scene, as a kind of pseudo-prologue. It was his only appearance in the entire novel. Allie saw him as a great way to bridge the demographic, crossing the book over from YA to adult. So we added him, and I love him. He owes his existence to Allie.

Revision 2 Once we had the detective in, Allie thought it would be fun to see the opposite POV: that of the villain. So we added him in, as well.

Revision 3 Next Allie had me change the introduction to the characters. All four girls were introduced at once. I had had several beta readers tell me that initially, the girls were a bit difficult to keep track of, but I didn't really know how to fix it. Until Allie told me, of course. She had me just introduce two of them! Duh. Then we added the next two in in the subsequent chapter. She also had me add character tags to the dialogue so we could easily identify the speakers.

Revision 4 This was the point where I had to do some cutting. The middle of the book had a ton of romance--like five chapters of it! It was with much remorse that I had to cut it down. But I understood why. A little romance in a thriller goes a long ways. Everyone loves romance, but it can't stop the story! I knew that already...but I was so pleased with the dialogue, the jealousies, the emotions! That was a hard cut for me. But Allie was great, helping me to see what I could cut and still keep the tension and hormones that I wanted! This was also the point that we decided it needed a new title.

Graduation Once we finished revision 4, Allie felt that I was ready to move on to the next editor: the one that would fine-tune my book. Allie was the big picture editor. I was very sad to part ways with her, but very excited that we were moving closer to publication!

21 comments:

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Isn't it amazing how editors can see things and solve problems so perfectly? I don't have one yet, but my agent is VERY hands on editorially, and she's already pushed me to make my project so much better than it was.

Your book sounds great btw. Thanks for sharing!

KarenG said...

So fun to hear about your editing process! I hope Allie reads this blog so she can see how awesome she is!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Shannon--that's great! I've heard most agents these days have a lot of editorial experience. I think most writers have raw talent, but we can't see our mistakes in writing any more than in person!

Karen--I hope so too! I sent her an email a few weeks ago to test and see if she still has it, but she must be swamped w/ submissions! I miss her! She was so positive and encouraging! sometimes I read her emails just to smile!

T.J. said...

Ok, this is a lame comment, but I like that the girl in the picture is left handed. (I always notice things like that.)
In other thoughts: Congrats on finding your way through the revision process. Look forward to reading it.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

lol, T.J. You're funny!

Jen said...

It was so neat to see your process. I've always wondered how it goes for some people, especially with editors!! Good-bye to Allie and hello to the next editor!!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I also enjoyed the revision process with my smart editor. If you keep an open mind, your ms becomes better than you hoped.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This is cool to see your side of the process. Now I can't wait to read your book. :D

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Good, Stina! That's exactly what I want: a bunch of eager fans waiting for my book!

Amen, Terry Lynn. Editors are so helpful. One of the greatest reasons not to self-publish!

Ann Best said...

Sounds like it's moving along well! Congratulations to both you and your excellent editor.

Heindogs said...

I hope that its ok to post something that is totally unrelated.......whats happening with Mark? Anything official? We think about you guys everyday. When its Max's turn for family prayer he even remembers to bless Uncle Mark that he can keep his family safe. (funny thats all he gets out of all the things we say...)
Anyway, we think of you, pray for you, and love you!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Hi Connie, of course it's no problem! Mark's official date is in June. We're doing fine! Cirus and Wesley are here w/ us today--they came in yesterday. It's fun to have them! We wish we could see you guys!

Heindogs said...

Thats fun that you got to see Cy and Wes! I'm glad to hear that you guys are doing well. I can't even believe how long its been since we have seen eachother! We will HAVE to have a huge party at least when Mark comes home. If you guys happen to go to Montana beforehand, let us know, we can arrange a trip too...

Bethany Mason said...

As someone who hasn't even finished writing my first novel, reading about people who have made it is always really inspiring but I love it even more when they keep it real and tell us how it really is so thank you for sharing your journey. And TJ I always notice when people are left-handed in films as I am a leftie myself, have never seen a left handed character in a picture before though x

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for the insight into the process, Tamara! I can't wait to read your book!

Harley D. Palmer said...

Good luck with the editing! I look forward to reading your book!

You have an award at my blog!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Thanks, Harley! On my way over!

Kate Coursey said...

Hi Tamara,

Thanks so much for this post! Facing the editing process is daunting, especially for a first time author. I can't wait to read your book! I myself have just started revisions with my editor at Scholastic Press. It's overwhelming, but definitely a crucial part of publication, and it's good to know that other authors have to go through the same ordeal. Just out of curiosity, do you live in Utah? I know WiDo Publishing is based in Salt Lake City (where I live) and I would love to come to one of your signings.

Best,
Kate

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Hi Kate! So wonderful to meet you! I love having an editor. To me (I think I said this is my post) it makes all the difference between self-publishing and being published by someone else. WiDo is based in SLC, but I live in Arkansas. Not to fear! I'm sure I will be doing a few signings in Utah. It probably won't be when my book comes out, but closer to the LDS Storymakers conference. I plan on going out to Utah for that next spring, and I'll line up some signings when I'm out there.

I just got a website up: tamarahartheiner.com and it will list all of my upcoming signings, speaking events, etc--when I get them!

Kate Coursey said...

Great! I can't wait to read your book. Also, I'm hoping to attend the LDS Storymakers conference next year, so maybe I'll see you there! My editor's really nice, but I'm nervous about starting revisions...I hear editing can be a brutal process.

I will be sure to check out your website :).

~Kate

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Good for you, Kate, that you are getting ready to start w/ your editor! Yes, it is grueling, and at times frustrating and at times infuriating! But it is also invigorating. Have fun!

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