I've decided writing and revising a novel is a lot like buying and remodeling a house. Here's a comparison from my own life lately, based on my novel SHAPERS and the house my hubby and I just bought here in sunny ol' California.
SHAPERS: Wrote rough draft, mid-Feb to mid-May of 2010. Yep, 2.5 months.
HOUSE: Searched from mid-July 2012 to mid-October 2012. Yep, 3 months.
SHAPERS: Met interested editor at SCBWI conference; tweaked and sent off. Crickets.
HOUSE: Put in offer on a house on 1/4 acre built in 1972, 2000 sq. ft.; offer accepted and then house was taken off market due to odd legalities.
SHAPERS: Tweaked more, sent to agents: 2 requested fulls but ended up rejecting. Met the lovely Kelly Sonnack at SCBWI retreat in Oct. 2010, who requested full.
HOUSE: Found another house and made offer that fell through 'cuz they didn't accept VA loans. Found a lovely purple tri-level built in 1990 with 1668 sq. ft. on 1/4 acre.
SHAPERS: Call with Kelly in April 2011; she offered representation! Signed contract.
HOUSE: Put in offer on the tri-level mid-Oct. 2012; it was accepted! Started escrow.
Revision and Remodeling
SHAPERS: Kelly's editorial notes: Boost romance, get closer to 80K words from 63K, fix "empty" villain, change the ENTIRE ENDING (gak!), slash a coupla scenes, etc.
HOUSE: Projects: Remove red/green chair railing, take down hugeous red/green shelves in living room, paint over the light GREEN living room walls (gak!), take down flat PLAID valances, remove door molding chewed on by a dog, etc.
|Living room BEFORE, with old owner's belongings. Cluttered! Ugleee carpet.|
SHAPERS: Sept. 2011. MC still "felt distant." Kelly suggested switching from 3rd to 1st person POV. Gulp. Extra surprise: I decided didn't sound right in past tense anymore, and changed the novel to present tense. Did 2 line-edits + minor changes in 2012.
HOUSE: After we moved in: That ugleee stained and worn carpet just had to go. Went with oak hardwood laminate. Extra surprise: With the carpet up, we discovered the sliding glass door had been leaking…had to replace the door, too.
2013 Final (?) Touches
SHAPERS: Made MC less snarky/insensitive, with less selfish goals. Boosted sci-fi worldbuilding elements. Fleshed out 2 minor characters, toned down another one.
HOUSE: Bought area rug and curtains for living room. Found awesome impressionistic-looking valance for kitchen at a thrift store for $7. Painted my office. Hung pictures.
|Living room, AFTER. Less cluttered, hardwood laminate flooring.|
|Living room AFTER. I've since lowered the highwater curtains! :)|
BEFORE AND AFTER:
SHAPERS: Guess you'll have to wait to see. I hope you get to read it someday!
HOUSE: Photos in this post…my new writing office is below. I love it!
|My writing spot, where Words Happen. Includes assorted dragons and sewing machine.|
|Guest bed side. Includes ballerina I drew eons ago, my bear Woofie, and the quilt I made.|
Have you had to revise and revise, like I have? Is your manuscript getting stronger?
Have you remodeled a house and shaped it up the way you wanted it--or do you have ongoing or future projects you'd still like to tackle?