Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Revision Diaries (1)

OR: Confessions of an author on a deadline!

you know what you should do when you get your editorial letter? you should totally, ABSOLUTELY, commit to a new blog mini-series.
because that's responsible.
and a good use of your time.

here's the deal. i thought it might be fun to share my editing crazies with all of you here on the blog. this is partly to make sure i AM, in fact, blogging during this time and not letting the space go dark. it also gives me an excuse to blog exclusively about revisions, which will be all i can think about for awhile. prepare for the descent into madness.

The Revision Diaries, Week 1:

my ed letter arrived on a friday, while i was at SCBWI. everyone told me you should let the letter sit and sink in for a few days, so i figured that was perfect timing. i'd just get started when i got home.

48 hours later, i was skipping the one free meal at the conference and an entire afternoon of sessions in order to sit in the lobby for a few hours, reading my manuscript and taking notes. (guess i'm not one for sitting and stewing!)

i spent the first few days back at home doing the same thing - reading and taking notes. all of this prep work is good, i told myself. i'll really be organized and ready when i actually start to edit.

eight pages of handwritten notes later, it was time to get back into the book and really start to work. BUT WAIT! the manuscript pages with my editor's notes had just arrived. naturally, i had to write out all new notes for myself based on those pages. really, you can't be too prepared.

the next friday, i talked to my editor on the phone to discuss revisions and bounce ideas back and forth. it was a great convo. i took lots of notes. i am so ready to start working, i thought.
(meanwhile, somewhere in the background, a deadline clock is ticking away. one week gone.)

finally, saturday arrived. my first full day to devote to editing. but i was TOTALLY UNPREPARED! i simply HAD to rush over to the office supply store to stock up on multi-colored Post-Its in all sizes. and as long as i was there, it made sense to pick up a 3-ring binder and new red pens and highlighters.
now i could REALLY get organized!

i spent a good half hour using a hole-puncher on my pretty manuscript pages. then i used my fancy new Post-Its to color-code my manuscript, page by page, with each color representing a different thread of things that need to be changed.

look how pretty! you can see how much work went into all this, right?

and do you know how many words i had actually edited in my manuscript at this point?

on the one hand, i do think it is CRITICAL to organize and prepare. at this point, i have my letter and my notes memorized, which should make the writing part much easier.

on the other hand, i confess, this first week was partly an exercise in procrastination. i find it very difficult to START revisions, because it means taking that polished manuscript - the one with every word spelled right inside of its perfectly-formatted one-inch margins - and tearing it apart. it's hard to take the thing you once called "done" and go back to calling it a "work in progress."

but it's time. i could not possibly be more organized. today, the REAL editing begins.


Becky Taylor said...

Note to self...must get to Office Depot. I love all the lead up to the actual plunge. That first toe is always the hardest. Looking forward to reading the remaining posts!

Gem said...

I laughed A LOT at this post - so wasn't expecting you to be like this over your edits. I'm the procrastinator in this team! Your MS does look pretty with all the coloured post its though.

Now stop reading this and get back to work.


Stop it.....

Elissa J. Hoole said...

*drools over your office supplies and color-coded organization*

I really, really, really hate tearing into it, but more than that I love emerging on the other end with a book so much better you can't even fathom it. Good luck, and nice job blogging while in the middle of it all!

erinjade said...

Becky, yes! the first toe. after that, you can just jump in, cannon-ball style, and get over the initial shock quickly.

Gem, LOLOLOL!!!!

Elissa, exactly. i see that light at the end of the tunnel. looking forward to the sense of satisfaction on the other side. :)

Sophia Chang said...

Oooh I love photos of organization...I can spend hours in OfficeMax :)

I was sad we didn't get to meet in person at SCBWI - we have a bud or two in common.

Sarah Whitney said...

I don't remember exactly how I landed here in your corner of the Interwebs, but I'm glad I did. I loved your post. Color coordinated post-it notes are addicting. Good luck with your edits!

erinjade said...

Sophia, i know! my list of people i didn't meet might be longer than the list of people i did. boo.
but that just gives us an excuse to go again! :D

Sarah, i'm so glad you found this little corner. welcome! :) *your partner in color-coded obsession*