Tag Archives: rewriting

melodrama queen

I’ve been reading ahead in my first draft, to see what’s coming for me in my rewrites. And Lord, it isn’t good.

By the third time in one scene that my heroine blushed, I wanted to rip her out of the draft with my bare hands. My hero too, poncing around saying “Oh woe is me, just because I am beautiful and a duke, I am still a man who bleeds as other men do”.

The number of secondary characters + secondary character plot twists boggles the mind. And makes for sustained melodrama, as everything comes to a head all at once, over chapters and chapters and chapters.

Now, I don’t think it’s at all useful to slam old-me and what old-me wrote, because that’s all a natural part of learning how to actually write – i.e. really not being able to write. It’s kinda great, actually, to see how far a lot of hard work can bring you.

It’s also great being in a headspace that really understands the concept of “kill your darlings”. I’m not just looking at pretty passages here, I’m looking at whole characters and plot points and thinking “if I took you out, would it matter?”

So much of this highly productive headspace has come from listening to Popcorn Dialogues, which is like a masterclass in writing. Jenny Crusie and Lucy March watch a movie a week, then podcast their thoughts and their critical breakdown of it. So far it’s been romantic comedies, but they’re just about to move into Hitmen In Love.

I owe them this great critical phrase:

premature submissions

I wrote this post in my dream last night and woke up to another rejection letter, so its time has most definitely arrived.

I finished my first romance manuscript at the beginning of this year – and this is the ms that won me the Valerie Parv Award, so I wasn’t insane thinking it had some potential. I let it sit for a negligible amount of time, then got stuck into rewrites and editing.

I killed many a darling, including a secondary character and her whole plot arc, which made me feel good about my revisions. Surely I was cutting away all the fat.

I got to a second, third draft. I spat and polished – metaphorically, of course, otherwise that would just be gross.

Then I sent a query to many agents. My query worked – only one agent so far hasn’t requested a partial. My partial evidently doesn’t work.

And now that I’m discovering what’s really there in my novel, I understand why. I’m even grateful for it.

There were a couple of reasons I started sending the ms out. One was that it sincerely felt like I had taken it as far as I could on my own. Another was that I was sick of having the same conversation over and over with authors or other people who wanted to make it too, or reading the same advice on blogs. It seemed to me that the only way to change the conversation was to have some new experience to talk about.

(I still kind of agree with that reason.)

Also, like many other aspiring writers, I’m a bit impatient. This is not the business for impatience…

So here’s some advice straight from the mouth of experience: When you’re ready to send your manuscript off, it may not be ready. I honestly have no idea how to tell when you’re ready, because like I said, I thought I was.

Maybe the best you can do is put the “ready” ms away for a period of time, then take it out again with fresh eyes.

Then again – all this being said, the critique that really opened my eyes to my novel’s potential came in a rejection letter from an agent.

Go figure.

fairy godmothers are the best

I promised I would keep you updated re VP’s feedback on my re-drafted first chapter, and boy am I happy to do so!

As always, am not sure how much of other people’s letters I can post here, but let’s just say it contained the phrases “to me, what you’ve done is wonderful. The depth and complexity of the characters in this brief glimpse is impressive.” and “You’ve definitely transcended farce and moved the story to a whole new level, frankly unlike anything I’ve read before.”


I have been struggling quite a lot recently with a huge case of self-doubt – no doubt to do with the huge re-writes/breaking apart what I had to try and make something better from the pieces.

This comes at just the right time and makes me realise more than ever how incredible this mentorship is.

hey, I still would have shared if the feedback wasn’t so good, but this is so much sweeter.

editing/the knife in the heart

I am working on some major assessment at the moment, so you’ll have to forgive the distracted tone.

In order to get back to my work as soon as possible as well as enlighten you all about some of the delights of the editing process, my post tonight will be comprised of my teacher’s comments on my last assessment piece: [Quite often I have to re-read sentences to decode all the flourishes and turns of phrase.]

I don’t understand this

what gaping feeling?

convoluted sentence

this word doesn’t work, an object is very much not alive

what does this mean and look like?

what is she saying here? That she will marry the next chap to come up to her? Why??


you can’t just write this without explanation

aren’t they in a pub?

Again – what does this mean? These kinds of allusions are frustrating to the reader.

Ah, Sonia Orchard. You are a great teacher.