Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I’m nowhere near needing the answer to this question, but I’m still curious.

I’m nowhere near needing the answer to this question, but I’m still curious. 
When an author is working their way through their agent or editors revision notes, should they only make changes to the parts that have been marked up? Or can they/should they add in new elements they were suddenly hit with the inspiration to include? Can they add in a sub plot, a character flaw, a world-building description etc, or should they just stick to the revision notes and leave everything else alone? I could see how adding new stuff could get messy, but on the other hand, they could possible add more sparkle.

Did the rodent wheel need a good workout?
You let it sit, unrun, too long?

Why you're even thinking about this right now just underscores that writers will think about ANYTHING to avoid thinking about the novel they're working on.


To answer your question: this is entirely dependent on where you are in the editorial process.

If you're doing revisions based on my comments before I send your work on submission, I'd rather have the most fully developed polished sparkly manuscript I can get.

Applying the notes to all of the book is generally a good idea.

When the book is on submission, but not acquired, and you're asked for an R&R, ASK YOUR AGENT.  She'll know what the editor expects and can advise you.

If the book is sold, and your editor has sent notes, ASK YOUR EDITOR.

And if the book is sold, and you're marking up the galley proofs:

Marking up galleys is not the time to revise the book (generally).

But again, you're thinking about this to avoid thinking about something else.
What is that something else?
Fix that, and you'll be better off than listening to me yammer about Events Yet To Be.

"That hamster looked tasty, where did it go?"--Her Grace The Duchess of Yowl


Luralee said...

Wait, they make exercise wheels for CATS??? However did you get her to use it? And do they come in kid-size?

Oh, also good question. The answer makes so much sense.

Jill Warner said...

I'm adding that last paragraph to my Wall of Shark Wisdom so when *I* get onto my hamster-wheel, I can look up, read that, and get back to work.

K. White said...

Good question.

Janet is spot on that we writers will think or do just about anything to avoid writing. I'm personally in one of those quagmires right now. Everything else seems so much more important than sitting down and getting the work done.

I too didn't know there are exercise wheels for cats. I'm not confident that my two would get up off the couch long enough to sniff it let alone exercise in it. But I understand. Exercise is another task I'll make just about any excuse to avoid.

julie.weathers said...

There are treadmills for horses, underwater horse treadmills, and swimming pools for horses and bulls. Why not an exercise wheel for cats?

I sent The Rain Crow off to beta readers and I'm feeling a bit unmoored. I'll piddle around for a couple of days and read or play with the house, then start on another project and start sorting agents. I'm not even going to contemplate R&Rs.

Craig F said...

There is not a Dr. Spock book for the care of raising of novels. They differ so much there can be no general way to fix one.

Sometimes changing one line at the beginning is just that, changing one line is changing one line. Other times, that one line can affect 500 lines through the book and throw the plot on a tangential orbit.

You should always do this on a copy, some other agent might see that same line as the magic of the whole thing.

They make treadmills for cars too.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

One of my friends is making a splash debut in about a month. She got the brass ring, an auction on her debut novel.

Watching her go through the acquisition/editing process, I can pretty safely say that coming up with a brand-new plot twist for this book was the last thing on her mind.

She was slogging through notes, discussing those notes, and accepting/rejecting those notes. Sometimes her answer to a note was something her agent or editors hadn't thought of. They discussed it as a team and accepted or rejected it. But the trajectory of the story always remained the same. After all, that's the book that several publishers tried to exchange non-trivial piles of money for.

All the while, she was working on the proposal for her next book. THAT'S the place to weave in that brilliant idea you just had.


PS: THE OTHER MRS. MILLER by Allison Dickson drops next month. It's Hitchcockian in its twists, turns, and suspense. The blog post I am going to write about it starts out: "Phoebe Miller lost her family name to scandal, her marriage to ennui, and her ass to ice cream. What she gained was an apparent stalker and an interesting neighbor."

MA Hudson said...

I'm the OP this time and Janet got me wondering: WHAT was I avoiding thinking about?!
Possibly just about everything else in my life at the moment, but that's what fiction's for, ain't it? Escape, as both a reader or a writer.
I was wondering about the edits and R&R's etc because every time I went through my WIP intending to just add in a little more world building, or just a sprinkle more humour, I always found a million more other things to add.
I like Janet's answer though - just ask your agent/editor/publisher.
Alas, I'm still such a long way of needing that answer!