I just got back a second set of in-house rewrites on The Preacher's Bride. Yes, a SECOND rewrite.
Before I share about my newest rewrite, I thought I'd do a quick recap to bring everyone up to date on my writing journey over the past months.
In August of 2009, I signed a three book deal with Bethany House Publishers. During Sept.-Oct. a team of various in-house editors read through my first contracted book, The Preacher's Bride.
By mid-October, my line editor called to give me the details of ALL the many, many things I would need to change. (My reaction to that phone call is here.)
After taking a few days to process all of the major edits (read the list of changes here), I picked myself off the floor and wiped the tears from my cheeks. Then I proceeded to roll up my sleeves and map out a spreadsheet of all the necessary changes, scene by scene, chapter by chapter.
I gave myself the goal of revising one chapter a day and ultimately finishing before Thanksgiving. And as most of you know, I pushed myself and completed it the weekend before Thanksgiving, just in time for a family getaway at Great Wolf Lodge.
The first week of December, after reading through the manuscript one more time, I crossed my fingers and sent it to my line-editor. She told me she didn't know when she'd have the chance to read it again, so not to worry about it and just enjoy the holidays.
I gathered up my research for my second contracted novel--which I'd completely put on hold during the rewrites, and I immersed myself into biographies and stacks of musty history books. Plot ideas formulated, the story time-line took shape, and my characters started to come to life.
I gave myself another goal. I wanted to be ready to start writing by January 1st. I forced myself to focus amidst all of the cookies calling my name. And finally, the week before Christmas, I knew I was almost ready. I'd gotten into the heads of both my main characters and now I could confidently play their parts in the unfolding drama.
That's when I got another email from my in-house editor. She said, "We’ve read your rewrite and overall are very pleased with it. I’ll get some feedback to you early next year."
Overall? Overall?! What did that mean? And feedback? What kind of feedback? And next year? Sheesh! (For some reason my brain skimmed over the "very pleased" part!)
Those who follow me on twitter got to hear me freak out a little bit about that particular email. After agonizing and laboring day and night for six weeks on the rewrites, I suddenly had nightmare visions of not getting the changes right. What if they didn't like my new ending? What if I didn't change my hero's arc enough? What if I had to do it all over again?
Fortunately the fun activities and family time during the holidays helped me "forget" my self-doubts.
Until Last week. Promptly on Monday, my editor emailed me to schedule a phone meeting. We arranged to talk on Tuesday afternoon.
And so, last Tuesday, she called. And now I have a second set of rewrites. More details in the next post. . .
No one ever said the writing life would be easy. In fact, the more I rub shoulders with other writers, the more I realize just how difficult the writing life really is for all of us.
Here are two parting thoughts, both taken from James Scott Bell's newest book The Art of War For Writers:
1. "The trick is not in becoming a writer, it is in staying a writer. Day after week after month after year. Staying in there for the long haul." p. 12
2. "Every moment spent whining about your writing career is a moment of creative energy lost." p. 27
My resolve is to stay in there for the long haul, even through a second set of rewrites. And I promise I won't whine. I can't afford to lose any creative energy!
What about you? When you first started writing, did you realize how hard the writing life is? Are you resolved to stay in it for the long haul?