Sunday, March 15, 2009


Not my best photo--bleary, red eyes, overworked stare, and not exactly smiling into the camera, am I? I probably could brush my hair, too (oh, wait, you don't brush curly hair.) If I look like I am in another world...well, I am.

Welcome to Revisionland!

I have until Friday to turn in a set of revisions to my adored editor at Algonquin. I have been working ten hours days, sharpening arcs, revising themes, reordering chapters and puzzling out questions my editor asked, and it is really hallucinatory. She deconstructed the novel and helped me to put it together again  in a way that makes everything richer, stronger, and more surprising.

The characters whisper behind my back, making me strain to hear what they are saying. They take all the blankets at night so I can't sleep and they invade my dreams.  They use up all the soy milk before I get to breakfast and all the hot water in the shower so I get soap in my eyes, and they dog my every step so I cannot even do a simple thing like thread earrings on without thinking of them.

 Of course, I love them.  Of course, after what I put them through, I can't blame them for being a little peeved. But I am so deeply in their world now--much more so than in my own right now--that every time I come to the last page, I burst into tears. 

I want so badly for readers to love them, too.


Jeff Lyons said...


I love that picture! :)

you say your editor deconstructed the novel and then put it back together again... this is fascinating. What did she do (you probably can't answer that here)? You're obviously happy about it, but do I ask this... how do you feel about someone reordering things you wrote when you had a structure/pace, etc. in mind for your story? Hey, I do this for screenwriting clients all the time... but they haven't published 9 bloody books. So, I'm just fascinated how someone of your experience can be ok allowing someone to deconstruct your writing. This isn't a criticism... i know the value of editors... but what the hell did she do to your book?

J :)

Caroline said...

She did miracles and I will send you an email about it--she truly is brilliant and I am a little in awe of her. Writing a novel is different in pacing and rhythm than a script, I think, but wait email is coming...hang on

Cari said...

Ach. I'm right there with you. (Gail wanted more revisions.) I raise my (decaf) coffee eastward. Good luck, my friend.

Caroline said...

You, too, Cari, honey.

Katharine Weber said...

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."
- Robert Frost