how to face BIG changes

big-changesFollow-Up to Having an Open Mind to BIG Changes

When going through my first true round of edits, I was not the ideal writer. The manuscript was very near and dear to my heart, and I did not want to face the fact that it required a lot of work to make it the best it could be. Thankfully, my editor (the wonderful Katelyn) stuck it out with me, along with my fabulous critique partner (read more here) and neither of them took any of my tantrums personally.

Now, after completing my first round of edits with my agent on a manuscript, and anxiously awaiting more for another project, I feel I have grown immensely.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when I have to cut a favorite scene. It doesn’t mean I agree with every suggestion or cut. It just means that I have learned to face the big changes with the end result in mind.

But oh how it took some learning.

You may recall I previously shared about having an open mind to big changes, in fact that post started out quite a bit like this one. Even if you have an open mind, though, how do you go about doing the big changes?  After all, they aren’t easy. You might be cutting out some love between two characters to make opening the door to a later romance easier. You might be combining characters into one because all the characters start getting confusing to your readers.

Or you might have to change the story of your book entirely because of plot holes or a more exciting direction edits took you.

Whatever the case, having an open mind doesn’t make it easy. Easier, maybe. But not easy.

READ IT

The easiest way to start your changes is to reread your manuscript with those changes/edits at hand.  Make notes where you know you’ll need to change things, but it read it through FIRST, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done so. If you read your words with new changes in mind, it will (hopefully) open your mind to them more and spark some inspiration. It will also (hopefully) make the changes easier.

WRITE IT OUT

Now write it out…. Whether you want to actually write it or walk it out, you need to sit down and come up with a sort of new timeline of events thanks to the new change.

You might need to rearrange some chapters, or find every part those characters are in so you can cut or combine them, or cut some of the love tension and make it a completely different feel. Whatever the case, make notes while you’re reading and then get down to business. Don’t do the two unilaterally. Read, then write. Even if this is a challenge for you, it’s going to make it better/easier in the end.

TAKE YOUR TIME

(Unless you’re on a tight deadline)

You don’t want to rush big changes. They are, after all, BIG. You want to take your time and find all the places where you need to fix your manuscript so the changes work. If you’re not scrapping your project and rewriting the whole thing, you’re bound to miss a beat if you rush.

DO NOT RUSH.

Your editor, agent, publisher, friends, family—they’ll wait for you. The exception to this, of course, is if you’re professional other has given you a deadline—then stick to that deadline. But take deep breaths and don’t let the stress sink in.

 

Your manuscript is amazing. The changes will be amazing. But above all, YOU are amazing.

 

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balancing writing, editing, querying, & writing some more

balancing writing editing querying writing moreI’m in a precarious spot with my writing life right now. I am currently on my first round of submissions to editors, I’m anticipating the possibility of edits, and all the while, I’m trying to write my new work-in-progress.

It’s exciting and nerve-racking, alternating between the two each nanosecond.

This isn’t much different than when you’re querying agents, deciding whether you should keep chipping away at the book you’re seeking representation for, or start a new book as you wait. You pace, debate, decide, change your mind…and change it again.

Where is the balance? How do you function with so many things happening at the same time?

Never fear, my advice is here! (Just remember I’m still learning, too.)

STAY CALM

No matter what you’re doing, your nerves won’t help you. Sit down and organize what you have happening so that you can see it on paper. And I do mean paper. WRITE IT OUT. There is something about actually forming the words yourself, not just typing them, that helps clear your mind and settle the nerves. Once you have everything on paper, it’ll help you prioritize what you should attack first and breathe while doing it.

GO IN ORDER

Edit BEFORE you query. Not during or after. BEFORE.

While you’re querying, have a new project to work on. Even if it’s not a new book—have something to keep you from going back and second-guessing the book you’ve released into the wild.

HAVE PATIENCE

Hardest. Thing. Ever.

I say this half-heartedly because I’m awful at following it myself. If you’re querying agents, be patient and know you’ll hear back, and eventually you might stop jumping when your email goes off. Same thing applies if you’re on submission with publishers.

But let’s be real, those heart palpitations when you see an email from an/your agent will probably never go away. I know mine haven’t. But having a new project to work on while this is happening will keep you focused as a writer and invested in something new.

DON’T STOP WRITING

Much like anything else with writing, it’s good to have something to distract you: a new project, a craft, an event—anything to keep your mind off your email and your submitted book.

But don’t let querying or being on submission be an excuse to stop writing. A writer has to write, and if you stop just because your nerves are racing, you’re going to lose some of your momentum, and you could be withholding potential for your next great idea.

A break is needed from time to time, but don’t let yourself get out of the habit of writing. Ever.

Once you hit submit, have the confidence that your words speak for themselves.

And then get back to writing some more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!