For me, the part of writing a novel that I look forward to and dread in equal parts is the process of editorial revision. I am so fortunate to work with the best editor ever, Liz Szabla. When I send her a novel, I’ve been over and over it to the point that I can’t stand it anymore. But for some reason, she knows exactly what questions to ask to ignite something creative that makes me look at the story with clear eyes and a fresh outlook. She makes me actually want to dive back in. The process of The Fallout was no different than the previous three novels. There was a fairly dicey moment when Liz sent back the manuscript to me for the first time and I realized only about half of it was there. Why? Because the whole thing pretty much sucked and Liz knew it and there wasn’t much point in even going past the first half if it had to be totally rewritten anyway, right?
(Insert heavy sigh here.)
There was probably a day (okay fine, a week) on my part of wanting to give up. But then I looked at what she had to say and knew she was right. So I got to work. A lot of work. And when I sent the extensive revisions back to her, this is the note I sent along:
So your notes about my draft were spot on, as always. It seems like I weave my web but never quite get enough strands to shore it up. But a sequel is a new animal for me, ugh. So, I think I’ve come up with ways that make this much stronger. I realized that everyone was either a dish rag or a saint, pretty much. I dumped a bunch of stuff, but then added more, so fingers crossed that it is closer to where it needs to be.
And, of course, that draft was much closer to where it needed to be. I realized long ago that I am this type of writer: lousy at writing but would go toe-to-toe with anyone at revising. And I’m okay with that. Especially when I have an editor like Liz to get those revisions where they need to be. For me, writing a novel is a collaborative process and my books would not be what they are without my editor.
The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen is available Tuesday, September 24!
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