Friday, January 28, 2011

Revision Hell is Over

Revision Hell is over! Or at least for a little while.


Right after leaving my day job, I jumped straight into the "full time writer" fire. Though I had received my revision letter from my editor in early December, the holidays made sure I had zero time to actually sit down and work on them.

By the beginning of 2011, I realized my time at my day job was over. My stress escalated as I began number crunching and trying to estimate how long I could keep afloat financially if I took the plunge. I was so overwhelmed, I would read the revision letter and feel as thought I couldn't even understand what it was saying. I soon realized that the day job and writing career were not meshing. Something had to change, or I was going to break.

Well, as you know from my previous post, that on January 11, 2011, the Universe and I were in agreement that I was done. Finito. Finished. My former employer was awesome on my last day and my departure was really nice. As I left, I joked about bumming around in my nightgown for the next few days while playing my Xbox 360. Alas, this did not happen. I did stay in my nightgown, but I dove straight into the revisions for FIGHTING TO SURVIVE that I had not been able to direct my full attention to during the hectic holiday season.

Revision Hell has consumed the last two weeks. I worked very long hours every day on the book, sometimes up to 12 hours. I wrote close to an additional 20,000 words on the novel as I finally had enough brain to understand what I needed to do to enhance the story. I added new scenes, deleted some old ones, tidied up some plot points, fleshed out some characters, pulled in one character a lot earlier, and just worked my bum off.

Finally, I finished the revision, put the book aside, read the "first pass" of THE FIRST DAYS, and made a short list of things that needed to be fixed. Just so you know, "first pass" is the industry term for the fully formatted version of the book.

The title page of the Tor version of THE FIRST DAYS

As I read the Tor version of THE FIRST DAYS, I was thrilled at how engrossed I became in the story. Though I have read it countless times, it was fun to read it again. I was thrilled with the new scene, loved the tidied up narrative, and fell in love all over again. The Tor version really is the ultimate version of this story and I'm so pleased with it. I only found a few weird things in the book, such as weird punctuation and three words that needed to be changed. I wrote up a quick email pointing out the needed changes, sent that off to Tor, and took a deep breath and...

...I immediately began to read FIGHTING TO SURVIVE. As I read over the newest version of the story, I fixed up a few things I had missed, double-checked my editor's notes, and enjoyed all the new scenes and character development. When I finished reading, I told my husband how much I loved it.

In fact, I'm really proud of it at this point.

FIGHTING TO SURVIVE was the hardest section of the AS THE WORLD DIES story to write. It was written during a very difficult time in my life and I had to force myself to write the mini-chapters to post online. I do think that some of the best moments of the entire series are in FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, but it did need a little bit of spit and polish. My editor, Melissa Singer, definitely helped me sort out some of the tangles and tidy it up. I won't lie. It amazes me how detailed she is with her observations and I appreciate it. She has taught me to become a better writer and I am so grateful.

In closing, revision hell is over unless I need to do anymore work on FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, or the revision letter for SIEGE arrives. That doesn't mean I'm not working though. I'm already working on a proposal my agent requested and preparing for the release of THE FIRST DAYS on July 5, 2011.

Oh, and one more thing. Here is the FINAL cover for THE FIRST DAYS. Enjoy!


  1. It's so awesome to know that you're finally done. I can attest to how much work you've done. This isn't just a version with better editing, people--it's As the World Dies 2.0.

  2. It's neat to hear about all this hard work you put into polishing the projects. I'm glad you have this period to go at it full-time without the distraction of a day job.

  3. Thanks, Kody! I agree. This is a better version of the story, but still the story that everyone loves.

    Thanks, Derek! It's a little scary to go full-time, but the time was right. I'm hoping to make it work!

  4. I really liked Pretty When She Dies, so I've been looking into your other books. Congrats on signing with Tor!

    Will First Days be available on Kindle? And does this include the events of all three of your previous zombie books?

    And of course, tell me when Pretty When She Kills is due!

  5. Jen, Tor will be releasing the book in ebook format. I'm not sure of the release date for the ebook version though. I know the trade paperback will be out on July 5, 2011.

    This is a reissue of the original first book in the series. The entire series is over 300,000 words and the average published book is around 80,000, so the three books will be released in order with their titles remaining the same and not in one huge tome: THE FIRST DAYS, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE and SIEGE. They are all being revised, so they will a bit more fleshed out than the original self published versions.

    As for PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS, it is on hold as I deal with my writing obligations to Tor. I'm still not certain if I will be self publishing the next book in the series or if it will be picked up by a publisher. We'll see.


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