Wednesday, 6 May 2015

IWSG - Pass the red pen

There I was thinking my bloghop duties were over for a few days, at least, and then I look at my blog feed and everyone has realised that it's the first Wednesday of the month, and you should know what that means by now...

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I have decided to query agents with my latest novel. I had planned to simply pep up my synopsis and send it on its way, but I couldn't remember the story! So now I am reading my novel for the first time since before Christmas.

I thought it would be an easy recall the story and write the synopsis type job, but as I read, I can see parts I would love to rewrite. I'm battling against myself at the moment, because this poor story has gone through so many rewrites over several years I can't see how I could do better.

I still have half the book to read, so the battle isn't over yet. On the positive side, I think I might have nailed the synopsis... maybe.


Do you find things you want to change on your final read through?
Have you ever forgotten the story you told?
Do you have any general querying/submitting advice?
(UK and US methods vary greatly, so some advice might
not be suitable for me, but will definitely help others)


80 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I would end up making some changes. Probably minor ones, but if there was something that could be said better or with a better word, I'd have to change it.

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    1. Yes, Diane, a lot of my changes have been that one word which doesn't quite fit right. Or where I accidentally used the word 'rooms' three times in quick succession! It's not always a bad thing, but very easy to start questioning everything... again!

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  2. I always make changes every time I do a read through. I'm obsessed with making it the best it can be. It's good to set it aside for awhile! My routine is to have my CPs and beta readers go through my final edits before I send it out. :)

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    1. This has already been out to some beta readers. This was supposed to be a read through to remember the story so I could rewrite the synopsis. Ah well, I'm catching some great typos :-)

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  3. Nailing the synopsis is huge! You'll work the rest out, no worries. Good luck whenever you do send it out into the world. :)

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    1. Nailing it, until I re-read it, of course :-) Thanks Madeline. Heads up: submitting might be the theme next month!

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  4. I always see things I want to change even on the galley read through. If you think your synopsis is good, I would send it out and then continue to work through your books as you wait for any answer. Good luck with the submission. Good wishes heading your way.

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    1. Susan, I was thinking the same thing - no point waiting around. I've already got my list of agents. *bites nails, becomes even more insecure* :-)

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  5. I don't think I'd ever stop editing my stories if an editor didn't pry them out of my hands and tell me it was time to go to print! I actually can't read them once they're published because I know I'll see things I want to change. But taking a break from a story---to sort of detach yourself from it---is probably the best thing an author can do to be able to come back to it objectively. Now's the time to make the changes you want to make. ONce it's in a publisher's hands, you lose some control.

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    1. Oh yes, I know that feeling, Nicki! Although I have looked through my published books and I don't see any problems. I gain a distance and treat them as I would any other book on my shelf.

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  6. As writers, I think it is almost impossible to resist the urge to change things, even on a final read through. There is always something we feel could've been said or depicted better. Unfortunately, we don't always have the luxury of making continual edits, for better or worse. :)

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    1. I'd never get anything published at all, if I edited as much as I wanted. I think the freshness would diminish though.

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  7. I'll be walking my dog in the park and I'll think of things I would like to change about works I've already published. Drives me batty. I had a teacher who said: a work is never done. There are only deadlines.

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    1. I do that with current projects. Luckily, once a book is published, I find it easy to let it fly on its own :-)

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  8. So I'm currently on my third rewrite of my WIP that is a COMPLETELY different story from the first dose of inspiration. Every time I come back to it, I find a way to improve it, which is the only reason I keep coming back. So yes, I continue finding things I want to change. I think it's sort of part of the process. That's why I look the other way once it's "done" and published.

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    1. I've had a rewrite like that before - even my mc changed completely. Good luck with #3 :-)

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  9. Every time I read my novel, I find things to change. It's been 7 years. I'm finally done. I'm working on query and synopsis and hate hate hate this part. Not my strong suit, so kudos to you for "nailing" your synopsis. Want to write mine???

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    1. It's nailed for the moment. Let's see what tomorrow brings... :-) Congrats on finishing your novel. Take the time to celebrate, it's important!

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  10. I think if you haven't read your book in so long and you're finding things to change, you're meant to change it. I completely re-wrote a series. Then I rewrote the first book in that series more times than I can count. Earlier this year, although I had to put it on a backburner, I started rewriting certain parts again, especially the beginning...and that's after I thought it was perfect, but now I know the changes I'm doing now are right. I feel it in my bones. If you feel it too, do it! :)

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    1. Luckily my changes are quite so full-on as yours. There's an extra chapter that could be written, and the penultimate chapter needs to be clearer. I think you're right though, if I think it needs changing it probably does!

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  11. That's exciting! Good luck with the queries. And well done on nailing the synopsis. I think writing a synopsis is a nightmare.

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    1. Fingers crossed it really is as good as I think it is :-)

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  12. Even after a book is published, I find things I wish I could change. I never put down that red pen!

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    1. My red pen ran out today. I had to switch to green. A victim of overuse, I think :-)

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  13. I'm so afraid of rewriting a book so many times that it loses its essence. However, thankfully, I haven't gotten to that point yet.

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    1. I've come close to that before, Anne Marie, but I swerved away. In the case of this novel, I started it in someone else's voice and spent a long time putting myself into it! I've learnt there are some authors I have to stay away from reading while I'm writing a first draft because their voices are too strong.

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  14. At this point, rewriting your book probably wouldn't make it any better. It would just make it different. So let it go and move on to the next one.

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    1. You've said the exact opposite of what someone else has said, and yet I find myself agreeing with both of you. Bodes well for the next few days, doesn't it? :-)

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  15. Like Dianne, I always find things I want to change.
    I forget how a story began when I write The End...

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    1. My beginnings are lodged firmly in my head - it's all the rest of it I forget!

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  16. I published my first story way too early, without the benefit of lessons learned the hard way since. So yeah, I rewrite it often. :) Will it ever be 'good enough' ? Who knows. Nothing wrong with wanting to improve on the original though, imo! :)

    shahwharton.com

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    1. It's good that you know the mistakes you made last time. It's all a huge learning curve, after all. Because of that, you'll know when it's ready.

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  17. Good luck with querying! And yes, I think I will ALWAYS find something I need to change when I read my own work :)

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  18. Good luck. I have no advice for you - just fingers crossed. So much is timing (and good writing). I've gone back to re-read stuff and forgotten key items or I think - where did this come from? Some surprises are good, some challenging. Sounds like you are on a roll - this is going to go well for you, I just have a feeling.

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    1. Thanks for your continuing support, Joanne. It means a lot to me :-)

      I love those good surprises in my own writing - it makes me think I might just know what I'm doing!

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  19. I never forgot a story I told. Why? Because I keep on rewriting. I'm never completely satisfied.

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    1. I actually managed to forget part of the ending - but it's not as bad as it sounds because it was a new part during the last rewrite :-)

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  20. I always find things I want to change or tweak even when I think I'm done! Make sure you research the agents you are interested in and check the guidelines on their site because sometimes they can vary quite a bit (in my experience anyway). Good luck, look forward to hearing how things go.

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    1. Oh yes, I definitely go direct to the site for guidelines - so much easier now than having to rely on Writers & Artists Yearbook, or worse, send an SAE for guidelines! Oh dear, how OLD do I sound! :-/

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  21. I realized the other day that I couldn't remember the name of my MC's sister from a past ms. It was weird. These are not things I would have thought I'd forget.
    Good luck with querying! :)

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    1. No, that sounds normal to me - just think of all the other stuff you remember!

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  22. I think we're never really done editing. There will always be something we'll find and want to fix, no matter how many times we say we're done with it.

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    1. I've got 10 chapters left - I determined that will be it!

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  23. I agree that editing is never really over. So go with your gut. Change things you feel strongly about, because now's a great time to do it. Best wishes on your agent hunt!

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    1. Thanks Cherie. At this point, I'm quibbling with myself over the small things.

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  24. It seems like there is ALWAYS some change we could make to a story, doesn't it?

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    1. Sadly yes, Sandra. But I'm sure the more changes I make, the further away I get from my story. Can't help it though. I read once an author saying she sends her first draft to her agent!!!

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  25. I don't think I've ever read a draft without deciding I wanted to change something. But then I hear that published authors do that too when they see their books in print. :) My best advice--save a file of the good feedback I received while querying. It was nice to look at when I got a rejection. Good luck!

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    1. I've always kept my feedback - good and bad - and I read over it relatively often. I have some wonderful rejections.

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  26. Good luck with querying. I agree that every time we read our manuscripts we can see parts that need to be revised, tightened and polished.

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    1. Thanks Rachna. I'm glad I'm not the only one, it's helping me to stop obsessing over my words.

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  27. I've had a few querying experiences as well as rejections. This is not a fun road, but it is a growing experience for sure! Once you submit that thing, try not to obsess over it--that is a waste of valuable energy. I would move on to the next project! Every rejection only means one more closer to a yes! Print up all rejection letters and stab them onto a receipt holder (not sure what those things are called) so you can admire the carnage your book has caused. Go over each to find clues for those who didn't say no 100%.

    Good luck and enjoy having hit send! :)

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

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    1. I love the image of stabbing my rejection letters with anything at all. Carnage! I love that image as well. Thanks Elizabeth

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  28. I keep making changes to my book and to be honest, I wish I had stayed with one of the earlier versions. I have rewritten the poor book so many times I confuse myself. Wishing you all the best with your querying. All I know from personal experience is that you will need a lot of patience. I waited for months before I heard anything back. Best of luck!

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    1. I'm pretty patient once I send it off. And I've always got my next target lined up so it's good to go as soon as I get a rejection. It sounds negative, but it makes it much easier to deal with. Thanks Murees :-)

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  29. I rewrote the opening of Past Due a hundred times. Then when it went to publishing, the editor hated the opening. So, I rewrote it a few more times. They were nixed also. Fatigued, I sent him the original first pages and that was how the book started. It's so frustrating! I lose sight of all objectivity fast.

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    1. Really? They liked the first one the best! I do that when I'm shopping - I always end up with the first dress I tried on :-)

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  30. Best of luck, Annalisa! Can't wait to read it :-)

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  31. Good luck Annalisa ... it'll all pan out .. cheers Hilary

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  32. Sounds like if you had forgotten the story, you're reading it with fresh eyes to some extent and I think you could allow one more round of changes. Better to do that now before you start querying! I think we'll always think of things we could have done differently, but at some point we need to draw a line and move on. If this is the book I've read then I hope it receives much success - it was excellent!

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    1. I remembered most of it, Nick - just the odd part. Yes, it is the one that you read - thank you so much!!

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  34. When I read through my book before I published it, I suddenly thought of a whole new beginning/plot strand! It would've meant a whole load of rewrites, and I was prepared to do it; but when I talked it over with my partner, he said I could write it in if I wanted to but it might not make the story any better - it would just make it 'different'. In the end, I didn't add it in, but I think (I hope!) the book still works without the changes. Sorry if that's not much help!

    Good luck with the querying! I'd definitely recommend The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook in you need any advice - they've got loads of helpful info on how to query :). https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/

    Rachel

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    1. That's good advice. And now you've got a new plot strand for a new book, yes?

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  35. Have a wondrous Mother's Day, Annalisa.

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    1. Thanks Sandra, but I'm British - we had ours in March :-)

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  36. I always find at least one thing to fix going through things again. I think it's a writer thing. I wish you luck!

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    1. Thanks Gwen. I kept myself on a tight rein, and didn't make too many changes. I did clear up a really silly part that made no sense, on the penultimate page no less!!

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  37. Oh yeah! I'm busy doing another round of edits to ensure consistency between the two books I'm publishing, and I'm STILL finding things that need work.

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    1. Ah, consistency can be challenging. My characters tend to offer different opinions in different chapters, if I'm not careful.

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  38. LOL! I have forgotten the story I thought I'd always remember. I hate writing synopses. Wishing you success with yours.

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  39. I read stories I've published and want to change parts! I think we're all constantly trying to improve on ourselves and that's a good thing. Have a lovely week!

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    1. It is a good thing, but sometimes I really need to know when to stop!

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  40. Like Christine, I have published books that I'd love to re-edit. If you don't like parts of your story, my advice is to quickly rewrite it before getting it published. I despise writing a synopsis. It's hard to sum a whole book up in one page. Good Luck.

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    1. In the end, it was just a case of clearing up the very confused ending. I'd made it much more complicated than it needed to be.

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