Friday, November 27, 2009

how to revise a book

Current work: revisions – French duo book 1
Listening to: Bach cello sonatas
Reading: (looking forward to going back to Jane Jackson’s new one – am in a better frame of mind, though it’s still been a turbulent week with one lot of bad news hot on the heels of the next. Am hoping that today I might get some nice news from someone...)

Revisions came in yesterday. I need to make my hero and heroine’s motivations a bit clearer – and revisit the conflict because it doesn’t work for my ed. The big sticking point was finding a reason for my hero and heroine to split up ten years ago – something that’s both their fault. No babies or miscarriages (done that), no health problems (that’s in the next book – and it’s not a fatal one, it’s something that will ruin the hero’s career and dreams).

This means thinking time. Some of my writer friends resort to ironing for this one, but I have a better solution.

First, take one pile of bags and boxes into the kitchen, along with scissors, wrapping paper, sellotape and labels, and set them all on the breakfast bar. Remove Christmas stockings from wardrobe and put them there, too.

Next, ban everyone from coming into the kitchen or else Santa will be going on strike. Dog is included in this because he has a tendency to place on delicate paw on edge of breakfast bar, spy goodies, steal them, and cart them off to his bed.

Add soothing, very regular music. (Needs to be classical, or will sing along instead of using this as thinking time.) Preferably cello. And preferably Bach, though Haydn will do.

Then think about the big question that needs answering for the book. Keep thinking. Wrap presents and label them. Keep wrapping. Keep thinking.

The theory is that the answer will come when your fingers are sore, you never want to see another piece of sellotape again, and you’re about to panic that the book will never work…

(I’ll confess that it didn’t work – though on the plus side I have done most of the Christmas wrapping. But I did bounce ideas with one of my writer mates, who is SO going to get the dedication for this book because she pointed out what was staring me right in the face. It’s so true that in this business you can be far too close to your book to see the obvious. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a newbie or this is your forty-second book for your publisher... the traps are still there and you can still fall right into them!)

15 comments:

Donna Alward said...

So true! I did Christmas crafts last Sunday night and suddenly made a breakthrough in the book!

And yay for friends. When I got my revisions last year for my January book, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it. Then a friend made a simple statement and it all came clear. So huzzah for good friends!

Olivia Ryan said...

Glad your friend was able to help you see the way to work the plot, Kate. And as you say, you got your wrapping done ... while I still don't have any presents yet apart from baby Noah's - I couldn't wait to buy his, it's so exciting to have a baby to buy for again!!
I'd been frantically trying to think of an answer to your problem with your hero & Heroine's marriage, and couldn't come up with a thing - so I'm glad someone else did!! xx

Heidi said...

Good god Kate, you've done your Christmas wrapping! I never get round to that till Christmas Eve at about 10pm... Which is usually when I discover I have no paper or cellotape!! I'm beginning to see a pattern here... which might explain why I've written seven books and you've written 42!

Good luck with your revs, I'm sure it'll be another corker.

Caroline Storer said...

Ohhhh Kate don't leave me on tenderhooks here! Any hint as to how you resolved the 10 year gap? As I was reading your blog I was trying to think of some situations myself - the only thing I could come up with (hangs head in shame!) was another man/woman complicating things. How contrived or what!

On the bad week thing. Heard today that my lovely MIL had to go back into hospital - 2 days after being released, and my mum has a low haemoglobin count - so more tests! Sigh. These things are sent to try us aren't they? Take care. Caroline x

Sally Clements said...

Yikes, Kate. Haven't done any Christmas shopping yet, but on it on Tuesday, once I've got Nanowrimo out of my hair. Anyway, I always dread the wrapping, but this had given me a different slant on it. So this year I'll take a leaf out of your book and not think of it as wrapping, but time to polish that wip.
Hope some good news winging its way to you today!

Majo said...

Bach cello suites - so good to let the mind fly! My favorite version is the Rostropovich one. Good luck with the plot kink!

Lacey Devlin said...

Oh I love Christmas wrapping! Sadly I haven't finished my shopping yet. I have done some though so I think I should get brownie points :D. P.S. I think I'm in love with your dog, such a cutie!

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - glad the crafts worked for you. And agreed, hooray for good friends!

Kate Hardy said...

Olivia - oh, isn't it exciting to buy for a baby? The toys out now are wonderful. (And I loved the "light show" ours had as babies.)

And I think I've learned my lesson about reunion books for a while ;o)

Kate Hardy said...

Heidi - I so hate doing wrapping!!

And thanks - you're more confident than I am, at this stage :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - other man/woman is one way of doing it, but I decided not to go that route in the end. We have a huge misunderstanding and miscommunication, mingled with stubbornness and pride. (I know some people *hate* that particular plot device, but if the motivations/reasons for miscommunication are clear and believable, it works for me!)

Hugs on your family worries and hope you get better news about your mum and MIL this week.

Kate Hardy said...

Sally - trust me, I hate wrapping so much that I need a positive spin for it! Good luck with Nano.

Kate Hardy said...

Majo - lovely to see you here! Will have to look up the Rostropovich version (mine's Mischa Maisky). And thanks, have been battering the plot kink into submission in my head all weekend!

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - tell you what, how about I do your shopping and you do my wrapping? (Would help if we weren't opposite sides of the world...)

Dog is a cutie. He spent the afternoon curled up next to me, holding my foot between his paws. (This might be because we had roast beef for lunch and I saved him a bit. Bless.)

Cioara Andrei said...

Foarte interesant subiectul postat de tine. M-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazut.Cu siguranta am sa il mai vizitez.
O zi buna!