Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oh, The Revisions!

My Christmas cactus is in bloom!

This, of course, has nothing to do with the post at hand, but I am quite excited about the pretty pink flowers in the middle of my dining room table.

My camera is being temperamental, so here's a beautiful Christmas cactus photo from Scorpions and Centaurs:

Now, on to my Writerly Topic Of The Day: my revisions.

The Critique

After I had a partial request from an agent and she ended up passing, I took her comments about why she passed pretty seriously. What it really came down to was that I hadn't fully introduced her to my world, so she kept getting distracted from my story. She wanted to know how this world functioned, and I hadn't given her enough info.

Fantasies and World Building

I could see there was merit in that criticism. I had thought that I was showing confidence in my readers by throwing them into the middle of the story and letting them pick up on the little hints about the world themselves. I was probably also influenced by my husband (who dual functions as one of my beta readers). He's the sort of reader who hates excess explanation, and some fantasies really hit readers over the head with that sort of thing.

The Revisions

But I'd gone too far in a minimalist direction. It was time for another round of revisions. One in which I amped up the sensory details and world building (but did not go overboard). So I've been revising my novel for the past month. I think it's quite improved.

I have a new first chapter that does a much better job of introducing how my world works. There are more details and descriptions woven into the rest of the story too. For example, I added some cool clothing descriptions. Did you realize that people in the 50s seem to wear a lot of belts? Even with dresses! (At least that's what I noticed when watching shows/movies from the era.)

I also tried to increase the pace of the novel by chopping out some scenes that started to feel boring and by getting rid of extraneous words from sentences. I seem to have a fondness for the word "just" which I cut quite a few times.

And now it's probably time to start querying again. I've also been revising my query letter. (That might be my topic for next week. We'll see.) But I'm nervous. I might sit on it for a little while and see if I want to revise one or two more things. But the querying will commence soon. I promise.

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