Girls Write Out
Friday, November 18, 2005

My friends say I'm crazy, but they're wrong, at least about this issue. In fact, to prove it to them, I asked other writers on a loop we're on. I'm not the only weird writer who loves the revision process. The majority of us DO love it. We crave the feedback from our editors that tell us what we got right and what we need to work on.

I just got my revision letter from my fabulous editor, Erin Healy. She is a MASTER at what she does. I was telling her when we talked the other day that a gift like hers can only be God-given. This letter was long--14 single-spaced pages--and she was worried I'd freak out, but I said "bring it on." I love seeing how the manuscript can grow and get better. A good editor is the difference between an okay book and a great book. Ami McConnell has the same gift as Erin, so I'm doubly blessed. I'm still waiting on Ami's comments with bated breath.

The reason I wanted to bring this up is that I want to tell you that though we published authors may SEEM hard on an unpublished writer when we critique for them, the reality is that this process NEVER stops. When you get published, your work will be scrutinized even more than it is now. And to grow as a writer you have to be willing to EMBRACE the suggestions that come your way. I know it sounds about as appealing as hugging a porcupine, but it's all in the attitude. Writing should be a partnership with your editors and publishing house. As a writer, you don't always know best. The quicker you learn that, the more you'll grow as a writer.

Erin rightly pointed out that Leia's goal seemed a little fuzzy, that I could use her artistic outlet of making kapa as more of an integral part of the inward process that's taking place in her life, that there were places I could deepen the emotional impact of a scene--all things that will take Dangerous Depths to the next level.

I don't know about you, but I want to climb the levels high enough to get a nosebleed. I say, "God bless my editors. May their number increase and spread to bless other authors."
Colleen Coble  
posted at 1:35 PM  
  Comments (9)
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At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Sabrina said...

I know when you gave me some edits to do I was overwhelmed. Now that I've done them I'm so much happier with the beginning of my wip. It's made me excited to see how much better others can help me make my book. Hopefully each time we get those edits or advice we learn from them and next time won't make the same mistakes. I can totally see why you love the editing process!

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

She is crazy, don't let her calm and seemingly sweet email fool you. She's a glutton for punishment. She takes fourteen pages of edits, and sends them to me, like I too should be thrilled for all the work ahead of her!

Don't get me wrong, you cannot get better in this business without some HARD editing, and I'm all for that, but to enjoy it? It's sick, sick I tell you!

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous julie carobini said...

I keep giving myself little goals to celebrate. Like this week, I hit the 2/3 mark on the book I'm writing for Bethany. Soon I'll hit 3/4, and so on. Thanks A LOT, Colleen, for reminding me that 'done' will actually mean 'just getting started!' Big sigh here. (I'm still smiling, though...)

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

The rewrites are coming, Julie. LOL But that's the fun part!

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Colleen actually squeals with excitement when she gets her edits--all 14 pages of them, and I'm one of those friends who thinks she's, well, a little nutso. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE making the book better, but the process is downright painful for an organized person like myself because editing is messy, messy, messy! But oh the joy when it's done and BETTER for all the effort!

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

LOL.....Sabrina, wait til she tells you to rewrite the entire first 30K of your ms to make it better! LOL My couch took a serious kicking for that! But I reopened her comments, found myself nodding, and got all excited and dove right in and did the major rewrite. The result? Well, it placed 3rd in the NT this past year, so I'm pretty certain Colleen's advice was right on! Now, I have to say, I get all excited when I get crits back. I can't wait to see where I hit the mark, or where I fell short of it. I guess I don't think Colleen's crazy for getting all squealish over edits. I would be, too. :)

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Camy Tang said...

Okay, I don't know if I'd be THAT excited to get a revision letter, but thanks Colleen, for the insight. I can relate, because I got a bunch of editing suggestions from my agent that made me suddenly go bling! I can make my story so much better if I do that!

Funny how I didn't see that until someone else pointed it out to me, eh? But now I'm excited because it's like cleaning my dirty wedding ring and seeing more sparkle that I didn't realize was missing.


At 8:39 PM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

I love edits, too. Maybe I don't jump up and down for joy, but I love the chance to go back in and make a story better, stronger.

I'll never forget reading a blurb from Emma Thompson, screenwriter for Sense and Sensiblity. She said they rewrote it about 14 times. Earned her an Oscar.

So, you go, Colleen. I'm with ya. Rachel

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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