Write. Revise. Repeat.
Writing is rewriting. We hear that at every conference and workshop. What surprises me is the accompanying chorus of groans from attendees. Apparently, I’m in the minority of writers who enjoy revising. I think of the process as similar to painting. The first draft is my pencil drawing. I’m just blurting out the arc of the story, seeing what works and what doesn’t. There are lots of eraser marks on the canvas at this point. I add color in broad strokes in version 2. This is when my primary focus is character development. In version 3, I add shading and details to evoke empathy and reaction. I keep going until my agent tells me it’s done, or an editor tells us both. To give you an idea of how much revising I’m talking about, let’s look at my journey so far. I worked on a single manuscript through 8 revisions before I felt ready to pitch agents. Landing one of them was my singular goal. So where did I pitch? At a dedicated pitch conference, Algonkian’s New York Pitch (http://newyorkpitchconference.com/). This particular conference is part workshop, part opportunity-of-a-lifetime. I can’t say enough good things about the experience. While there, I revised my pitch 4 times, based on feedback from agents and editors. What happened next? I got signed by the very rock star agent I’d set my sights on before I stepped foot in New York, Paula Munier. What am I doing now? Revising, again, based on feedback from some of the top publishing houses and conversations with Paula. I’m also working on the first pencil dra – I mean, first drafts of two new manuscripts. In between, I’ve written and revised outlines for two more projects that are waiting for my attention. I can’t wait to see how all of them turn out. See, I love the process. It’s fun and satisfying to see my characters take shape and evolve. I love it so much I intend to keep doing it, over and over again.