Monday, September 27, 2010

the valley of revisions

It's quite a hike coming down from the Eagle's Nest restaurant in Indianapolis at Revell's author appreciation dinner to the valley of revisions. But here I am:) I think the most surprising thing about being an author is the rewriting aspect of all that writing. And the fact that no two people will view a manuscript quite the same (and one of them is your editor:).

Since writing has always been an intensely personal endeavor for me, the publishing/revisions process is a bit of a wild ride. But I'm so thankful I have an editor who cares enough to put her heart into my work and challenges me as an author. This writing valley I'd anticipated for revisions isn't really a valley at all. It's actually quite a lovely place to be, just like the photo here suggests. After creating a few new scenes, snipping old ones, tweaking everything just a bit, I believe that you, the reader, will enjoy The Colonel's Lady even more.

In Indy, I was in an elevator with a bestselling historical author and overheard her say she always sends her finished manuscripts to a freelance editor prior to submitting them to her publishing house. Others have myriad critique partners. Some do both. It seems the hope to have a near perfect manuscript afflicts us all. We authors, anyway:)

So I'm currently revising TCL and am truly loving every minute of getting lost in the story again. You'll have a better book in the end and I'll know I've given it my very best. It always helps to remember I'm not alone in this ~

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

If you're a writer, do you enjoy rewriting/revising your work? If you're a non-writer, do you think you'd find rewriting enjoyable?

I'm so pleased to give away Choosing to See to one of you readers. This time the winner is:


Praying that this book blesses you and draws you closer to Him.

See you Wednesday!


  1. Love that picture! And thank you so much for sharing your positive attitude about revisions. I confess that right now just thinking about revisions is difficult, but maybe it won't be so bad after all--once I actually finish my manuscript that is! ;)

    I'm sorry I haven't read Courting Morrow Little yet. :( It might be a little while until I read it...I'm saving it to savor later on. ;) I'm wondering if it might be a good one to take with me over Thanksgiving break (which I'm going to spend in Texas with my dad's side of the family!), but we'll see. I just know it will be a treat when I do read it, though! :)

    God bless, and have a wonderful week!


  2. What a gorgeous picture! I want to live in a house with that view! LOL.

    I find it interesting to read published author's takes on the nitty-gritty of writing.I'm glad you are enjoying it.

    I tend to over edit before I'm finished which I'm learning is a real no-no. Plus, when I do that, I second-guess myself and it can turn into a negative downward spiral. So, right now I'm trying to only look forward, forgetting about what I've written and forging ahead.

  3. Am I that Lisa? If so, then I'm very excited to read this book. I guess i better stock up on tissues first!
    Thanks, Laura!

  4. Hi Amber!
    So good to see you here:) I searched and searched for just the right valley pic and this so reminded me of autumn. Glad you like it. I wonder just where it is or if it only exists in the artist's imagination.

    Sometimes revising is a writer's favorite part of the process, even more than creating. I like both but think the thrill of crafting a new scene is hard to beat. Lori Benton (Genesis finalist this year) likes editing better than the first draft. Everyone is a little different. Just keep working on that wonderful manuscript of yours in spare moments:)

    Please don't worry about reading CML! I must be a crazy author as I tell people to just tuck that book away for winter reading or some future occasion:) I understand time limitations all too well ~ and you're a college girl, to boot! Sometimes the anticipation of reading is half the JOY.

    Praying for you today!

  5. Kav,
    I so understand the over-editing part. After years spent doing just that I've decided it takes the edge - or freshness - off writing that is already good enough. Some might disagree. Being a perfectionist at heart, I can hardly stand not messing with my manuscript, no matter what stage - even after the book is in print! That's why I never read it when it arrives at my door. I still see things I wish I'd changed.

    That's the beauty of edits and deadlines. You're given a short window of time and you don't have the luxury of fussing too much. In fact, I've just written 2 new scenes for TCL that I think may be the best in the book and they evolved by my feeling squeezed. They don't even need much tweaking. Love to hear your writing thoughts. We seem to have a similar outlook/process.

    I wish I had a valley view, too:) Wow! Wonder where on earth this is? Heaven, maybe:) Bless you today!

  6. Lisa,
    You are the WINNER:) I smiled when I drew your name! And I think I have your addy so will mail that right out and you should see it soon. It really is a tear jerker like you said and has lots of great pics, etc. Let me know what you liked about it once you find time to read. I can just imagine how busy your household is this fall! Hope your kiddos are enjoying school and are well. You, too!

  7. I'm looking forward to reading The Colonel's Lady very much and would like to know if the colonel in this story is the same one that appears in The Frontiersman's Daughter. You know, the colonel who helps Lael and the doctor out during the plague. He was so intriguing that I wanted a story about him.:)

    If anyone is looking for a great read set during the Revolutionary War during the siege of Charleston please read Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow. It is not too long, but it is very good with an interesting heroine. This book was written back in the 1950's I think, but is still in print. Here's where it can currently be purchased at Amazon.

    That cover is OK, but I love the original cover better which is on the copy I have. My sister got my copy for me from a used bookstore because I particularly wanted that cover! Here's a picture of it.

  8. I love the picture, you always find great ones. To me, it has a very Appalachian feel.

    Since I am a fledgling writer, editing is not something I've encountered yet. Even in school I did very few edits to my papers. I was too much of a procrastinator to ever write a rough draft. However, I do have a perfectionist streak, and I always see things I would have changed.

    There's definitely a touch of fall here now. Yesterday, when I left for church it was 61 degrees (I go to an 11:30 service). I'm loving the cooler weather!

  9. I am still unsure on revisions. My last story (which also doubles as my first) was not a good editing experience. Probably because I didn't know HOW to edit! I am starting rewrites on my 2nd today and really hope that goes better. Praying for the right subplot, the perfect emotions, words, etc. It is certainly a daunting climb! I hope I eventually get to the point where I like the editing as much as the writing.

  10. I love both the writing and rewriting. The rewriting just drives me to new levels of craziness as I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite!!
    But seriously:
    I enjoy seeing what came out as very creative, but very bad writing, transform into something better through the rewriting process.

  11. Sylvia,
    You always provide such interesting commentary! I am familar with Bristow and have read at least one of her books. She was very popular in her day. I don't think I've read CG but will check that out as I'm such a Rev. War nut:) Thanks so much for the info. Now you've got me intrigued by those covers! Glad you have your own copy! Your sister sounds like the one I wish I had:)

    I'm thrilled you were intrigued by Colonel Barr in TFD. He was an interesting, if conflicted character. Those are always best:) And he did have a past worth deliberating on a bit. Sadly, my Colonel McLinn is just as cross-grained but a different officer altogether. After watching North & South, you'll swear John Thornton is my Colonel McLinn. I meant to use John Thornton as my prototype for The Ballantyne Legacy series but my new hero only looks like Johnny. My Colonel McLinn, however, could be Johnny's twin! In personality, anyway.

    Off to see CG, thanks to you...

  12. Michelle,
    Yes, it DOES have that Appy feel:) Probably why I was drawn to it over the others. So glad you are having cooler temps after that strange late-Sept. heat wave my mom was telling me about which just about convinced everyone they'd time-warped to mid-July:)

    I have a feeling you are so savvy you didn't need a first draft:) At least in school. I always procrastinated with subjects I disliked, American Literature being one of them. I still think Am. lit smells when compared to Brit. lit!

    Keep cool and happy reading!

  13. Casey,
    Take heart ~ editing is a learned task. I think the more you do it the better you become and the easier it is. I also believe writers are born editors. Kaye Dacus says it's a right brain/left brain kind of skill and we switch when we move from creating to editing. I think she's right. MY editor really is amazing as she sees things I don't and never would. Sometimes, like these TCL edits, it makes me want to hit my head over and over. Why didn't I see that! So what you don't catch, your editor will:)

    Just keep writing and praying. I'm writing and praying right along with you!

  14. Revisions and edits. Oh my. Having gone through it about 5 times already, I'm still pondering how to cut 6,000 words out of my manuscript without totally taking out its beating heart! I know, pray, then just DO it!

    I can't wait to read TCL. There's just something about your writing, Laura, that makes me feel good, and after meeting you, I just smile when I think about it. I treasure that picture of us! Praying for both your revisions and mine!

  15. Kristen,
    So true about those levels of craziness:) I'm in the midst of that right now. Strange how you can take trash and make it just sing! Real writing is REwriting. Hoping your WIP is singing!

  16. I have to confess fear of rejection of man is a struggle for me and I'm not crazy about the idea of rejections which I'm quite sure are in my future...but I know God will give me the strength and I believe is already now working this in me.

    Hope school is going well for your kids :). Liz is loving her art class in fact I'm wondering if she may have a budding talent/interest in this area as we thought the teacher helped her with her drawing. Its neat to watch the gifts God gives blossom in them.

  17. Julia,
    I don't think we ever get over rejection-angst, no matter where we are in our writing journey. Probably because writing is such an expression of who we are and really originates in our soul, or should. But you're right in saying that God equips us to deal with rejections when they come (and they will)!

    So happy for Liz! Gifting seems to come early (Psalm 139:) so am glad you are in tune with this. Will be fun to watch how it develops!

  18. Regina,
    You said exactly what I said when faced with severe word count blues ~ I felt I was tearing the very heart out of my book!! TFD was HUGE and I had to get it down by a 1/3 or so. ACK! Needless to say, there was a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now I can slash with the best of 'em:) And I can now count you among them!

    Praying for you, too. I felt, when I met you, that instant connection that has a bit of the divine in it:) God is so good to bring us together. Maybe it's a Kentucky thing, but I think it's because you're so genuine and real. And I'm beyond thrilled to see where this present WIP takes you! I have an idea you'll be sitting by me at the KY book fair in future!!

  19. You know sometimes I wonder if this has something to do with why he doesn't want me to try to write for publication now. I think it is mainly because it would take too much time away from my littles, but I'm also starting to sense that maybe God needs to take me through some of my fear of rejection so that I will persist through it, if that makes sense. Because I know there will be a lot of it in my future even if I do get published.

  20. Julia,
    It makes perfect sense. I don't think, honestly, I was able to handle rejection till I was in my 40's. That's not necessarily the magic age as we all have our own season for weathering it (and I'm a late bloomer), but I do remember being rebuffed by one pub and nearly quitting as it was so painful. Strangely enough, my current pub contacted me right after that, just when I'd decided to stop submitting and only write for myself. So I understand your thoughts about persisting in the face of rejection as that very nearly happened to me. And those littles are sooo much important than anything else when all is said and done:)

  21. Oh those typos! I meant to say that those littles are sooo much more important...
    I'm beginning to think of life as having seasons. There are seasons to mother, to write, to not write, etc.

  22. I love coming here and getting so motivated to follow my own writing inclinations. I've decided I'm gonna sit down today during *someone's* nap time and start writing!

    My experience with writing of course has always been more journalistic, but I do appreciate the revision phase to sort of go through and hone your ideas. I sometimes tend to over-write, or if I get stuck trying to find the write descriptive word I'll just put in something close and then come back to it with more focus.

    I think finding someone willing to edit for you is the hardest part ;) I'm always afraid I'll bore someone to tears with something that seems to interesting to me! Art and writing are so personal. But its something that you also have to share to make it work ;) So glad you've shared with us, your readers!~

  23. Yay! Heather's here:)
    I've heard that journalism's short, punchy style helps immensely with writers who cross over into fiction, etc. But I can totally relate with you on the over-writing aspect. I am so in love with words I want to use them all ~ and sometimes do...

    That said, the longer I write the more terse I become. Lately my lament has been the lack of narrative in this new series. I will NOT become a dialogue-driven writer!!

    I hope that certain *someone* had a long nap for you. Love hearing about your creative endeavors:)

  24. Hey Laura!
    What a BEAUTIFUL picture! Thank you for sharing it with us :) The fall season truly showcases the breathtaking, majestic beauty of the Master Artist!!

    And, since I fall under the "non-writer" category I've never experienced the rewriting thing. Unless, you count my mom and cousin proofing and revising my newsletters for church :D I know it's silly, but they can be hard on me sometimes, let me tell ya ;) However, I understand the importance of them all too well, LOL. Like the time I printed out the newsletters BEFORE I let either of them read it. After all, I had already read through it and didn't find any mistakes... *sigh* Well, I had my cousin read it AFTER I had already printed them, and guess what?? She found a mistake in the OPENING LINE OF MY FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT!! And, of course it wasn't just any old announcement, but the one about our new church building finally being complete! There I was sitting there watching her read it and smiling like I'm the smartest thing going, and all of a sudden she dissolves in a fit of laughter. When she finally catches her breath she asks me, "Mandy, who is 'the Jesus'?" *horrified gasp* I almost died! I think I was debating whether to use "the Lord" or "Jesus" in the all important opening line of the all important opening announcement, and this wacky brain of mine merged the two. A typo I'll never forget let me tell you- not that my cousin would ever let me forget. We laugh about it now, though :) I'm just praising "the Jesus" our church is a small one!

    Thank you for that beautiful scripture, my friend. It blessed me so very much :) Praying for you!

    Amanda Stanley

    PS- almost forgot, CONGRATULATIONS, Lisa!!!

  25. Hi Amanda! I was so hoping you'd come by! "THE Jesus" indeed! Thanks for the laugh out loud moment this morning:) Newsletters take a lot of time/work, even a small one. Our church only has about 100 members and we stopped our newsletter a couple of years ago and I really miss it. I wrote book reviews for awhile but it sounds like you do the whole shebang:) And I know it's appreciated, typos or not!

    You've pointed out something that is something of a mystery and definitely an irritation ~ our ability to overlook our own mistakes! I can't believe how much I miss even in a simple email, not to mention an entire manuscript (or newsletter).

    Hoping you have a typo free day:) Me, too!

  26. Laura, just wanted to mention I gave away my copies of your books to a friend who is on bed rest until her surrogate twins are born, in October. She loved them! She can't wait to read more of your writing, and I'll be so happy to tell her about The Colonel's Lady, coming up next.

    I'll be buying hardback copies for myself now. :)

  27. Lori, That means so much to me! That you would loan them out and then want the hardbacks! You are such a dear friend. OH TWINS! My editor has twins, Morrow has twins... I don't have twins but always wanted them:) Praying your friend has her babes in arm soon. I'm counting on having your books in hand soon and am praying to that end!