Revisions: Sometimes You Have to Break It Down to Build It Better
Hi Swooners! I can’t believe Rogue Princess is going to be out in the wild soon. By the time I passed in the final edits back in November 2018, a lot of revisions had taken place. I jokingly say I only had to change three things; the beginning, the middle and the end (actually, I rewrote the ending three times).
Revisions can feel impossible at first, but I’ve learned breaking down the edits into smaller, workable bits was less daunting. Once I began to see the improvements, it helped motivate me for the next task. Here are some of the key bits I worked on with Holly that really improved the story.
1.) Clarify Motives
In order for readers to bond with Delia and Aidan they need to understand why they act and make the choices they do, otherwise scenes can feel forced or out of character. To create that authenticity I added a paragraph here and there of internal monologue and interior logic, to help readers follow along with the character’s thought processes. I also reworked the politics of the world so the consequences of Delia's choice for a husband would have more significance.
2.) Connecting the Legend to the Story
The creation legend for the planet Astor was the foundation of the story and therefore had to be beautiful and complex with a lot of depth. Originally the legend was revealed over several scenes as a sort of mystery, but after revisions I rewrote one pivotal moment between Delia and Aidan where the legend was told in its entirety in one scene. This gave the legend more weight and a greater sense of ceremony.
3.) If it doesn’t work, delete it
This includes dialogue, characters, and even a few B plots. There were a lot of instances I would try and rework a scene or a chunk of dialogue, but nothing I did would fix the issue to my satisfaction. I finally realized that in most cases simply deleting the problem text/scene (including characters!) was the best solution.
Editing is a ton or work and sometimes you have to tear everything down to the bones to find the real story buried underneath all those unnecessary words. In the end, after all the deleting, rearranging, and writing whole new scenes, I’m so pleased with how Rogue Princess turned out and I hope you enjoy it too!