Getting very close to the end of editing and revising my ms and I am beyond happy about that! I finished up my latest round of edits a few days ago and with any luck, I may only get it back from my agent once or twice more with a few very minor things before I never have to see it again! Well, that is until it's sold and my editor wants a ton of edits and revisions, but by then I'll have a book deal and will be more than willing to bend over backwards to for them if they so wish it. :)
I have learned a lot during this whole revising ordeal, and realized how much quicker my next book will go now that I have all this new information. I thought that I'd share it with all of you so that maybe you can learn from - or at least chuckle at - my mistakes.
- Never write your novel in Works. I had gotten an new laptop just before beginning my book, and my husband couldn't find his cd that had Word on it, so I figured - since Works is now just like Word used to be - that I could just write it in Works and then move everything over when I got Word. I can't even try to tell you the number of edits I had to make simply because when I moved everything to Word it didn't transfer properly. Word offers three types of hyphens and two types of dashes, all which mean different things, when Works only offers two, which meant that all my hyphens were changed when I moved it to word and were now incorrect, my italics which I used a lot to designate flashbacks were no longer where they should have been, as well as countless other things. It was a nightmare.
- If at all possible, don't change tense mid-project. I started off in the past tense, then about 10 or so chapters in, decided that present tense would suit the book much better. I am STILL, up to and including this last edit, finding 'was's that should be 'is' or 'are', 'sat's that should be 'sit's, etc.
- Let other people read it. Not a ton, and only people you trust to be honest with you. You can't crit your own work. Well, you can but only to a point. You know what it's supposed to say, so in some cases, you read right over mistakes and weak spots because your mind's eye corrects them for you. Only others see what it really on the page and their input is invaluable.
- Trust yourself, and know when to stop. I over edited. I cut out thing from my book, that I am now putting back in. Carly(my agent) has had several idea for new scenes or additions to scenes that were things that I had actually already had, or a form of them anyway, and I cut them before I had even submitted it to her. Much of that was due to word count - which I'll get to next - but the rest of it was me over thinking ideas and not having the confidence to say 'yes the book needs this, it should stay'
- Find a word count that works for you. I had some issues with word count. My ms was always on the shorted side, but that is generally aright with chick-lit. However at one point, I had three agents interested and one ha said my count should be between 60-75k, the second said 70-90k, and the third said 80-100k. Needless to say, I was confused. I was worried that I would not be signed if my word count didn't match exactly what each agent wanted, but I also was not about to have three versions of the book. I finally decided I had to find something of a happy medium. I put some scenes back in that I had originally cut, told the best version of the story I wanted to tell, and told the agents that I am more than happy to lengthen or shorted the ms for an agent if he or she signs me, but until then, I have to work with what is a happy medium for everyone. Carly was the one who thought it should be 80-100k, and she still signed me. Yay! (After revisions, it is now up to just over 74k.)
Hope that helps at least a few of you, and I'll be sure to keep you posted. For now, I am having a wonderful time reading a lot, watching a lot of TV, and writing nothing but notes.