I’m not sure how many times that I’ve finished Calyn’s story, but I might be able to work it out with a piece of paper and a pencil. I can say, however, that it’s gone through two major revisions. The first one was something that I thought I’d never do: I started with a blank page and only referred to the original draft when I wanted to check the skeleton of the plot. Believe me, I had always thought such behavior was crazy, but I knew that it was the only way that I could bring my new understanding of story into play.
The second major revision came after my agent and I evaluated the feedback on Calyn’s story from various editors. Many felt that the world was underdeveloped. Even wore, people just weren’t bonding with my character quickly enough. She was too passive. The solution wound up being starting the book about eighteen hours before the original Chapter 1. I knew that I was on the right track when a critique partner who hadn’t an earlier version looked at me and demanded, “Where’s Chapter 2?” The new first fifty pages sent ripples down the manuscript. I also brought in new characters to round out the world. What I thought would be a six-month revision took closer to seventeen months.
What am doing now? Well, my agent asked for a few clarifications on the new opening. But even better–at least for me–was the fact that she pointed out exactly where I could slide them in. So this revision has been much shorter than the others. But once again, I’ve had to follow the ripples of the changes throughout the entire manuscript.
What am I hoping for afer completing these changes? Why the opportunity to revise this manuscript again for an interested editor, of course. Revision doesn’t stop until a work goes to the printers.