Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
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Revising an ugly baby…
Friday, May 14th, 2010

Some authors love the revision process, but I have to think they love it like people love exercise or spinach—they have to do it, so why not make the best of it? I’ll admit right up front, I HATE revisions.

I’m in the middle of that process right now with a short novella. I don’t often get to the end of a novella unsatisfied with what I’ve done, but this time I attempted to write something a little more hardcore erotica than my usual fare. Okay, so some of you will be asking how the hell can she do that? Do you remember the scene in Saddled?!

Well, this one is more hardcore (even if the sex is still my smutty brand of unrepentent porn) because it’s more heavily invested in BDSM. While I slammed away pages of what my main couple were doing, I failed to show their growth as people and their growing affection for each other. I may write some raunchy stuff, but I don’t ever forget that these characters have to feel real and most real people have emotions that complicate their individual journeys.

I’m trying to go about this methodically so that I don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by the work needed to spank this puppy into shape.

1) I handed the story off to Beta Readers (test readers) who know how I flow. These readers knew I needed them to be very honest about whether they liked it or not, and the fact that I knew there was a problem. I asked for them to tell me if they could put their finger on what was missing because at that point I was too close to the work and couldn’t see it .

2) I took their comments, ruminated on them for a while, then passed the story to my crit partner for her thoughts. She came back with “a Dom wouldn’t do this” and “this was too much narrative” along with some very clever suggestions for rewrites.

3) I opened a fresh document, starting again with that pristine white page, and cut and pasted what I felt could stay in the that first scene, and then began to craft new words around that flawed bit of narrative, working at layering in more dialogue, more of the emotional reactions of the characters, and looking for the humor I’d sadly forgotten completely.

I have a very long way to go to make this one publishable, but I will take one chapter at a time through this process until I get to the end. Then I will send it once again to my Betas for a sanity check, and to my critique partner for her thoughts. Who said writing had to be a solitary effort. For me, it often works better if I have that frigging awesome village at my back.

11 comments to “Revising an ugly baby…”

  1. Fedora
    · May 14th, 2010 at 10:04 am · Link

    Delilah, lots of things work better with the help of friends at your back! Hang in there!

  2. Delilah Devlin
    · May 14th, 2010 at 10:14 am · Link

    Fedora! Thanks, hon! Think I’ll tape some plastic wrap to my scabby shoulder and brave a swim in the pool. It might clear the cobwebs before I start in again this morning.

  3. Cindy
    · May 14th, 2010 at 10:49 am · Link

    I’m one of those authors who love revision. It is much easier with that village to help. Good luck with the revisions.

  4. Lacey Savage
    · May 14th, 2010 at 10:58 am · Link

    I admit it, I’m one of those authors who adores revisions. I hate the first draft. Hate, hate, hate it. I can only write new words for an hour or two before I get antsy and agitated, but I can do revisions for 8 hours straight. I love the process of taking something that’s already there, and shaping it into something I’m proud of.

    Good luck with your revisions, Delilah!

  5. Brandy W
    · May 14th, 2010 at 12:01 pm · Link

    Hope the swim clears the cobwebs from the brain and lets those ideas flow freely.

  6. Tiffany Green
    · May 14th, 2010 at 12:16 pm · Link

    I’m with you, Delilah! Revisions can be a painful process. But they are necessary. Beta readers and critique partners can be very helpful. Good luck with your books!

  7. Delilah Devlin
    · May 14th, 2010 at 12:17 pm · Link

    Cindy and Lacey!! Ugh! I wish some of your enthusiasm for the rehash would rub off on me. 😥

    Brandy! The swim was nice, but it made me hungry, so stopped for food, then dishes. Finally, sitting down again at the computer. Sheesh.

  8. Delilah Devlin
    · May 14th, 2010 at 12:28 pm · Link

    Tiffany! Thanks so much. Any pointers for making it any less painful are appreciated. 😐

  9. Julie Kiesow
    · May 14th, 2010 at 12:44 pm · Link

    I wish you luck going through all this! You’ll pull through and get it right! Lots of support and friends to help you along:)

  10. Cindy
    · May 14th, 2010 at 2:02 pm · Link

    I love revision because that’s where I come up with the gems. The first draft rarely has any. But the revised draft usually has some really good stuff. I can’t wait to get to revisions of my current project but I have to finish writing it first. I’m taking Margie Lawson’s DeepEDITS and I can’t wait to apply that.

  11. Delilah Devlin
    · May 14th, 2010 at 3:40 pm · Link

    Julie! I decided today that the best thing I could do for the story was take a break from it. I promised myself I wouldn’t have another go at it until Monday. So no more griping from me until then!

    Cindy! Argh! I never find the gems the second time around—only the nits. Any fancy wording or imagery is always what comes straight from the subconscious the first time through. I wish I could find the gems the second time around too. It would save me some headaches. You’ll have to tell me how the class goes because maybe I need to take something like that to get over my phobia of edits.

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