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!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011--A Whole New World

I'm not going to lie. Though 2010 started off with a bang (book contract...woot!), the rest of the year was fraught with more lows than highs. It was definitely a year of facing reality, no matter how unkind it could be, and realizing that I had to make wiser decisions across the board. It was the year of "growing up" as a writer and as a person.

The hard knocks I endured this year were basically health or work related. I was pretty ill at the end of Spring, beginning of Summer, and I felt the aftereffects all the way into the Fall. Meanwhile, I had to do my day job and my night job (writing), while feeling like I was on the edge of collapse. I was going home and straight to bed for a good portion of the year. I'd wake up a few hours later, write a little (or do revisions) then fall back into bed. I grew tired of waking up in the morning feeling like I hadn't slept a wink. I grumbled a lot, but kept pushing myself out the door.

A few years ago, I had transferred to a new division in the company when my old division downsized dramatically. My old job had been one I felt passionate about, the new one was just a job. I didn't feel attached to it beyond the fact I was still with a company I enjoyed working for. But last year, I burned out on the job. The tediousness of it wore me down and though I liked all my co-workers and management, I felt no joy in the tasks I performed every day. I literally had to talk myself into going to work in the morning. Couple that with my health issues and you get the gist of how miserable I was.

By the beginning of Fall, I knew I had to make a serious change in how I was handling my health. When my brother called me in September to tell me how concerned he was about me, I was open to lecture. With his help, I got myself back on track by eating better and taking supplements. I finished the year finally feeling more like my "normal self" and 20 lbs lighter.

As 2011 dawned, I realized that I had to make some significant changes in my life. Though feeling better, I recognized I was still precariously close to burning out if things didn't change. Writing is vitally important to me. It is my dream. In the last year, I wasn't able to indulge in doing what I love most. The events of 2010 had pushed me precariously close to the breaking point and what finally gave way was my creativity, my writing, my passion...a huge piece of my own soul.

As of 1/11/11, writing is now at the forefront of my life. I am going to take a risk and try to make this writing thing into a full time gig. I might fail. I might succeed. I might end up taking on a job that isn't so brain consuming. I'm not sure yet. But I am going to give it my best shot. We'll see how it plans out.

So as of yesterday, I am a full time writer. At least...for now.

Wish me luck.