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This is a bitchy one, and no, I’m not asking for sympathy

August 27, 2009

I’ve been up and down the past few days. A lot. The delay I had in getting my partial out to an agent I really wanted to impress really left me frantic.

First, the delay with my back and the pinched nerve. Then the slow recovery with my kids here during the dogs days of a DC summer. Which, in reality have been hotter in the past, so it hasn’t been as bad as it could be.
Then my main writing buddy, Supriya, who’s an editor in her day job, convinces me to get a few more ‘fresh eyes’ on my work (mind you, over 2,000 people have read the first few chapters). Normally this would be an excellent idea. But the timing has been bad for me.
I’m in the middle of revision hell and it isn’t the time to open myself up for more critiques. The nature of a critique is for the reviewer to find something wrong and offer advice on how to improve it. I got some great advice on swapping out word choices, spotting echoes in my work and in adding a few words for clarification – so in all, I’m glad I did it.
BUT – the time suck has been horrible! For the opinions I got on two loops I owed fifteen crits. Not to mention the seven I did with no return crit. Each one takes me between 45 minutes to two hours to do. On average we’re talking an hour. That’s 22 hours of editing – my weakest area (but Supriya’s strongest ;-). To say it’s painful for me is putting it mildly.
Yes, other people crit faster. But I’m not them. Oh boy.
On to my good news- I finally got the polished first three out to the agent I wanted last night. It would have gone out almost ten days ago if not for my last last-minute improvements. But I do think the advice I got made the work stronger. I emailed the agent, told her it was coming and she is still interested in seeing it. Yea!!
Now, here’s to hoping she likes it!
I really think I jumped the gun sending it out to other agents via email in late July/early August. The work I sent then wasn’t as good as what I sent out last night and yet, at the time I thought it was. This agent requested it in hard copy and I hadn’t done that before. Printing the work out made a HUGE difference.
On the page you can see your errors so much better than on the screen. Echoes and over-used words leap off the page to you while poor/weak wording is highly visible as well. Doing that early on this month when I was flat on my back was a great tool. It prompted me to print the entire MS and follow the Holly Lisle one pass manuscript revision plan.
Speaking of which, I should get back to.
Yes, revising is hell. But it’ll be worth it when my book sells.
And so ends the bitch session for today. Go forth and conquer! 😉
C.J.
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