Swoon Author Cindy Anstey's Editing Update: Sometimes Messier Is Better
Revisions are fun… No, perhaps satisfying would be a better descriptor. As happy as I am with the first draft of a manuscript, I know that it can be improved. Carols and Chaos was no exception to that rule. Fortunately, the revision did become fun… A timely and smoother narrative stepped out from that first draft—all shiny and covered in snow.
My original concept was to spread Carols and Chaos across the holidays; to include New Year’s at the end. However, wiser heads prevailed. It was suggested that the book should conclude at Christmas—it was meant to be a Christmas book. Revisions involved rewriting the timeline and pushing the start of the book to the middle of December. It seemed like a monumental chore at the start but by the time I was three chapters into the changes, I realized that it was not an onerous job at all. I also enjoyed adding a skating scene and making the weather colder and messier.
Messy was the order of the day—or it should have been: I have a tendency to avoid embarrassing scenes. (Putting my main characters in an awkward situation is uncomfortable...for me.) I had written a scene of growing affection (euphemism for a kissing scene) in which Matt and Kate were adept at the process of kissing and rather pleased with the escalation of their relationship. However, the drama of the situation was drained by their comfort and confidence.
Time to throw aside the poise: bump noses, move without grace and show a tendency toward gawkiness and inelegance. The situation became funnier and truer to my characters, and the kiss was amusing. Thank you for the suggestion, Emily!
So, as expected, Carols and Chaos emerged from the revisions with a stronger narrative—honed and polished. Though, I still had the copyedits to face: commas to add. Lots of commas!
Hope you enjoy the book.