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Details Of My Second In-House Rewrite

When my editor called last Tuesday, I was sweating. I kept having visions of my first phone call, and all of the many things they'd asked me to change during my first rewrite.

I couldn't keep from worrying about what they didn't like this time. In a previous email, my editor had told me that "overall" they were pleased with the changes I'd made, but I knew that meant there were still things I needed to change.

The question was, just how many things still needed work and exactly what hadn't they liked?

So, when I picked up the phone and said hello, my voice trembled with anxiety. Fortunately, I've talked with my editor enough now, that I could be honest with her. And so, right off the bat I told her I was nervous about our call.

She put me at ease and reassured me that I really had done a good job with my first rewrite. My acquisition editor and line editor had both reread the entire book and were pleased with the outcome.

They each had taken notes, compared them, and now had just a few more suggestions and clarifications.

The first two items she mentioned involved the most rewriting, but she said they were optional. Both suggestions had to do with my hero and strengthening his character. In one scene, they proposed a specific way that I could show my hero with more action. And in the second scene they thought my hero was manipulative and needed to act more honorably.

Now, even though my editor said that I should think about their ideas and that I didn't have to rewrite the scenes, I decided that I needed to follow their suggestions. How can I, a novice, turn down expert advice? Needless to say, I'm in the process of rewriting both scenes.

The rest of the changes, thankfully, are less work. There are a couple of plot details I need to clarify, and I can easily strengthen them with a few well-placed words. I also need to make sure I'm on the look-out for any contemporary words I've accidentally used--words or thoughts people in the 1600's wouldn't have had.

They also wanted me to change what I'd originally titled "Afterward" to "Author's Note." This is the very last section of the book in which I explain what is true about my story and what I've taken liberties with. I need to simplify and rearrange this section.

And finally, there are a couple of places where my characters are a tad bit too loving. In other words, I have to tone down two kissing scenes. My editor shared the things she would eliminate if she edited it for me. I asked her if I could try tweak it first and see if we could find a compromise.

And that's it. I have approximately three weeks to get this second rewrite back to my editor. Once I make these changes, my editor reassured me that my major work on The Preacher's Bride is done.

She will go through the book again and do a line edit. She'll make most of the little changes herself but will email me if she finds anything bigger. She indicated that while she'll do some of the writing if necessary, she wants to make sure to keep my voice strong.

So, what do you think of this second in-house rewrite?

And what's your opinion? Do you think a writer should try to make all or most of the changes an editor suggests and trust their objectivity and expertise? Or do you think an author can go too far and somehow lose their uniqueness in the process of making so many changes?


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