Revisions and the Value of a Fresh Perspective

Woman reading bookI’ve learned an important lesson recently:  I am not always the best judge of my own work.

My deadline for SHE CAN SCREAM was tight. This was my doing. I wanted to push myself and my career, but the compressed time frame didn’t for much “thinking” time, those days when I stare at my plot board and let my imagination go. Writing the first draft in 10 weeks was a huge challenge for me. Yes, I know plenty of people who can crank out a draft in half that time, but not me. I am not a fast writer.

Anyway, I finished the draft and 2 rounds of revisions. Even after my agent read and approved the manuscript, I still had concerns. (I always doubt my own writing) But the deadline had arrived. So, holding my breath, I pressed SEND.

After a glorious 10 days of not having to work on this book, my developmental editor returned it. Yay! Only one of my concerns turned out to be valid, and fairly easy to correct once she pointed it out in the document. But in reading through her comments, there were a number of remarks that surprised me, places in the book where she felt my heroine sounded cold or mean. I reread the text over and over and couldn’t see it.  As a writer, my first instinct is to reject criticism that doesn’t seem logical. But the emotional impact of words isn’t something that can be predicted with an algorithm.  If my editor was put off by these sections, some readers will surely have the exact same reaction to the text that she did.

Different people can read the same words and have completely different reactions to them. 

When people open a book, they don’t do it alone. They bring their own history and personality with them, and their reactions can be as different as the lives they’ve led.

So, I’m off to rewrite these sections of text to make sure the emotions I intended to convey are clear to as many readers as possible. And I’m thankful that this book still has two more layers of editing, with two more entirely fresh perspectives, before it goes to print.

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2 responses to “Revisions and the Value of a Fresh Perspective

  1. Great post – I’m happy to have discovered your blog! I read about you in Writer’s Digest magazine recently! Your story stuck with me.

  2. I’m so flattered, Gwen. I hope you find great information here for your writing.

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