3 S.R. Johannes: We have to trust the Process

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

We have to trust the Process

Contest Update
As you can imagine - I have had tons of emails. The winners will be announced next week once I get time to log all the comments and do a drawing.

Here are the final numbers (March 1st - March 31st)

  • 3,148 unique visitors
  • 81 commenters
  • 52 Blog followers (hopefully you wont leave me now :)
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Hopefully you sent me emails with all your Extra bonus points b/c it affects how many times you name goes in the hat for the random drawing. :)

I really enjoyed meeting everyone and hope you continue to visit!

I will run various contests periodically.

Also - the Amazon contest is open until April 15th. We are ranked based on downloads so if you get a chance to download my chapters (top right corner), you can always read them later and do not have to comment.

We have to trust the process

I wanted to talk a bit about my revision process with Grace Under Fire.

I've been writing Grace for 2 years now. I started when I was prego with my little boy so it took me a while. (My next book will not take that long.)

I have had a couple Agents come back and tell me the book and characters and voice were fab, but the plot needed work. The suggestions that came to me were extensive. I basically had to replot my entire book and eliminate the story as it was. I wasn't sure at the time if this would work not to mention it was extremely overwhelming.

I pondered on whether to do these changes b/c 1) I have a few more fulls out to some hand-selected agents, 2) it would take a long time, 3) i kinda liked the story/plot, 4) It altered one of my characters. After all, there was no promise, no guarantee. Just a "maybe. If you do this, MAYBE we'll look again."

But in the end, I figured, why not? It was a shot and even though there is no guarantee, I had nothing to lose. 1) If the changes worked and the agents loved them, then Great! 2) If the changes worked but agents hated it - at least my book was better for submission. 3) If I hated the changes, I still had the previous version.

The only I had to lose was my time and my ego.

I mention this because I just finished those revisions and am getting ready to resubmit in the next week or so.

My book is so much better., I learned more about my characters then I knew before. I also learned a lot about myself. I learned how to put the doubt aside, how to replot but find relevant ways to keep things if they worked. I learned I am open to this process as a journey.

Now I will say, that I had already been chewing on some of the changes when the agents emailed me some ideas for revision. So the suggestions resonated with me. If they hadn't resonated and my gut didn't wonder if she was right, I would not have done them.

So here's to revisions:

  • let go of your ego - this process is not personal though it feels like it sometimes
  • keep an open mind - look past what is hard and look for what is right
  • follow your gut/heart - it is never wrong.
  • let go of any attachment to the outcome - it stops you from creating
  • try to step out of your box- who knows where you will end up

Most of all, we have to trust this crazy process and know/hope we will end up where we are supposed to. Wherever that may be.


Kristin Tubb said...

Hear, hear! (or is it "here, here"? I never know...) :-)

The revision process can actually be FUN! And you're exactly right - it's all experimental. If you don't like the new version, toss it. If the new version shines, then good for you! In creating believable characters, we'll most certainly send them down the wrong road once in a while. But as long as we're willing to work, they aren't "lost," they're just straggling! ;-)

I've also heard editors and agents say that they *rarely* offer a contract to a debut author without asking for a round of revisions first. They need to make sure you can and are willing to revise.

Good luck to you and GRACE, Shelli!

C.R. Evers said...

Great post and congrats on your progress with Grace!

Some days I tend to question the process as well.

Best of luck to you!


Corey Schwartz said...

SO interesting to read about the revision process!

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

I totally feel ya on the revision process. That's where I am right now with my YA novel. I'm due to resend it this week. I'll cross my fingers for ya--if I can get them off the keyboard long enuf! (oh, I just realized I can sign under my own acct now and not under "A," which is my daughter's email and the acct I used for the contest cuz I started with "A" and wanted to keep it simple for you--can't wait to hear who wins!)

Carrie Harris said...

That's so great that you're just about ready to take the plunge with Agent 001! I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you!

Vivian Mahoney said...

Isn't it the best feeling to be happy with your revised manuscript? Best of luck with this, Shelli!

Robyn Campbell said...

I blogged about this revision process this morning--Great minds,huh? Here's to the agent saying,"WOW," signing you to a contract and the book being sold right away! Cheers, Shelli!

Unknown said...

Good luck good luck good luck!!!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Excellent news, Shelli. I hope the revisions pay off with Agent 001!

lisa and laura said...

Oh man, we're just starting our revisions with the agent and it's totally terrifying. I'm petrified of making the book worse instead of making it better. We'll definitely keep your tips in mind!

Kimbra Kasch said...

I've got my fingers X'd for you.

Tabitha said...

It's like gold when agents give you revision suggestions, isn't it? It just makes you feel all warm and tingly inside, even though you KNOW there's a mountain of work to be done. :) At least, that's how I felt. Crossing my fingers that Agent 001 loves your changes. :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

Wow, having to replot your book must have been so hard. Way to go. And wishing you lots of luck with Agent 001. (Sounds a little dangerous.)

Katie Anderson said...

great posts! I just read about your hubster's back surgery too!

And I def. needed to hear this revision stuff.

aahhhh revision :-)